A low-scoring affair opened the three-game weekend series against the Red Sox in Detroit, with Boston coming out ahead 1-0. It was also Central Michigan University night, with several folks decked-out in maroon-and-gold Tiger hats given away for the occasion.
Ex-Tiger personnel were everywhere on Friday night, wearing the colors of the opposition: J.D. Martinez and David Price wearing navy Red Sox jerseys, and Dave Dombrowski... well, his obligatory polo shirt had much wider stripes than I recall from his Detroit days, I guess. Dombrowski was seen chatting with Detroit general manager Al Avila; is a trade afoot? We will see.
The latest edition of the DL Shuffle continued just before the game, with Leonys Martin coming back (and Mikie Mahtook going south), but Michael Fulmer going down (and Victor Alcantara coming north).
Matt Boyd played with fire early, giving up a first-inning run on a single, walk and double, but then he settled down quite nicely. To wit: three of the first four Red Sox reached base, then only one of the next fifteen got on, by a walk. I’ll take that.
Price set down the first nine Tigers in order, the last of which featured a nice running grab of a JaCoby Jones fly ball by Martinez just in front of the 365-foot mark in right-center to end the bottom of the third. This was the first time Price had faced the Tigers since July 6, 2014 as a Tampa Bay Ray. The Tigers’ losing starter that day? Rick Porcello. Small world.
Niko Goodrum smacked the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth into left for a clean single, though; Jeimer Candelario followed suit, and Nicholas Castellanos clanked a liner off Price’s glove to load the bases with none out. John Hicks flew out to left; Andrew Benintendi’s throw came through to home, but for some reason Candelario was halfway to third, and he somehow didn’t get thrown out by the catcher before getting back to second (but he inadvertently spiked Brock Holt in the process). James McCann pushed the count full before striking out swinging, and Victor Martinez flew out to right, and so much for that threat.
Boyd’s pitch count was on the high side, and after he allowed the first two to reach base in the sixth, his day was done. Louis Coleman came on and struck out Steve Pearce looking, but a Xander Bogaerts infield single loaded the bases. Daniel Stumpf threw two pitches and got a foul popout, and then Ron Gardenhire decided he enjoyed walking to the mound so much he went out again and brought in Buck Farmer. Farmer went 3-0 on Edwin Nunez, but eventually got him to fly out to right.
Alcantara came on for Buck Farmer with two out and two on in the seventh, in a rather unenviable situation: facing J.D. Martinez. But hey, whadda ya know, he got Martinez to ground out weakly to first to keep the game at 1-0.
A bit of rain started falling in the eighth; did this make a strike-three on Goodrum slippery enough for it to slip through Boston catcher Sandy Leon’s fingers, allowing Goodrum to take first? Perhaps. Strike three on Candelario, the next batter, was also a wild pitch, and Goodrum made it all the way to third. (Candelario couldn’t take first, though, as it was less that two outs and first base was occupied. Write that down, kids.)
What happened on the next pitch particularly annoyed me. The Tigers, this year, seem to be hell-bent on sending runners from third on contact. Goodrum broke for home on Castellanos’ sharp grounder to third. Naturally, he got caught in a rundown. I mean, points to Niko for lasting long enough for Nick to get to second, but jeeeeeeez, it’s a 1-0 game! Don’t give ‘em free outs! Hicks then walked, but McCann struck out. Another threat snuffed out.
All-Star Joe Jimenez took over in the ninth: two whiffs and a fly out. No problem. I like this guy.
Craig Kimbrel’s weirdo-extended-right-elbow thing came on in the ninth, and Martin singled up the middle with one out. Victor Reyes pinch-ran, as Martin’s hamstring injury is probably still weighing heavily on his mind. Jose Iglesias hit into a fielder’s choice, erasing Reyes, and pinch-hitter Jim Adduci struck out to end it.
- Did you know Mookie Betts has bowled a perfect 300 game? In the World Series of Bowling? I mean, come on, you’re one of the best players in baseball, and you’re a great bowler, too?! Pick one thing, Mookie. Also, I don’t imagine anyone has ever been in the World Series of Bowling and also the World Series of Baseball. There’s your goal, Mr. Betts.
- There was a Joel Zumaya sighting!
Always good to see Joel out. Here’s hoping he didn’t somehow injure himself in the New Amsterdam bar in right field.
- Marlins Man was behind the plate tonight, but I didn’t think that warranted a Tweet-embed. It’s just a dude in an orange visor.
- This 1-0 nine-inning game lasted, by my count, 3 hours and 38 minutes. Save us, Commissioner Manfred!
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed
Matthew Boyd (5+ IP, 3 H, 6 K)
Joe Jimenez (1 IP, 2 K)
Joel Zumaya (0 IP, 2 necklaces)