The Detroit Tigers managed a split of Monday’s doubleheader, as they fell to the New York Yankees in a 7-4 loss during the day game but triumphed in a 4-2 win in the night game behind a strong showing from the bullpen and the middle of the lineup.
Part two of the doubleheader was far more enjoyable for Tigers fans (especially those riding the high of taking Casey Mize with the first overall pick). The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as a Ronny Rodriguez sacrifice fly brought in Leonys Martin. The Yankees responded in the top of the third with a triple from Tigers killer Brett Gardner, but the biggest controversy of the night came later in that frame. Mike Fiers, who famously hit Giancarlo Stanton in the face with a pitch back in 2014 to end Stanton’s season, hit the slugger with another pitch up high to load the bases. The benches cleared and tempers flared, but ultimately Fiers ultimately wiggled out of the bases-loaded jam by inducing a Gleyber Torres groundout. Thankfully, no damage was done to Stanton nor the Tigers in the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Tigers fought back with a single from Martin, a double from James McCann, and a double from Jeimer Candelario to take a 3-1 lead. Stanton was not going to let the Yankees go down quietly, however, as he belted a massive revenge home run to make it a 3-2 game. Back-to-back doubles from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the bottom of the seventh gave the Tigers a crucial two-run lead to cushion Joe Jimenez and Shane Greene.
Speaking of Jimenez and Greene, the bullpen was absolutely dominant tonight. After Mike Fiers departed after going with a solid 5 2⁄3 innings while allowing two earned runs on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. Louis Coleman worked four outs as he wiggled out of a bases-loaded two-out jam in the sixth before pitching an impressive seventh inning. Jimenez came in for the eighth inning and once again pitched lights out, striking out Neil Walker and Tyler Austin.
Greene, however, may have had the most impressive outing. After allowing a base hit to Aaron Hicks, a wild pitch advanced Hicks to second base. With a runner in scoring position, nobody out, and a two-run lead, Greene struck out the side as he punched out Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez. Judge’s strikeout against Greene was his eighth of the day, breaking the MLB record for most strikeouts in a doubleheader. Furthermore, it was his fifth strikeout of the game, giving him a platinum sombrero to follow his three-strikeout performance earlier in the day. All in all, the bullpen’s incredible effort in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings was one of the more impressive showings in recent memory.
The day game was not quite as pretty. Drew VerHagen squared off against Yankees ace Luis Severino. Things went smoothly early on, as the Tigers led 1-0 after two innings. That did not last, however, as Gleyber Torres tied the game with a home run in the top of the third. VerHagen struggled mightily in his second time through the order, surrendering home runs to Greg Bird and Austin Romine, as well as RBI singles to Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier. VerHagen would finish going only 3 2⁄3 innings while allowing seven hits and seven earned runs.
The Tigers bullpen was spectacular in the afternoon game, as the team did not allow a hit in the remaining five innings. Sandy Baez, in particular, had a strong showing, as the rookie made his MLB debut going 4 1⁄3 innings with zero hits allowed, three walks, and four strikeouts. The Tigers were never able to recover, as a Castellanos single to bring in Martin and doubles from Niko Goodrum and Jose Iglesias in the bottom of the ninth inning were not enough to recover from the Yankees’ six-run fourth inning.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the doubleheader? [Bullpen Edition!]
This poll is closed
Louis Coleman (1.1 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K)
Joe Jimenez (1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K)
Shane Greene (1 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K)
Sandy Baez (4.1 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 4 K)