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Red Sox 11, Tigers 4: Pitching poor, offense shows up too late

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The Tigers pitching just could not get the job done and the offense remained dormant until the final frame.

Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

After sweeping the Boston Red Sox in a makeup doubleheader Tuesday night, the Detroit Tigers came into Wednesday evening looking to clinch the series win in a four-game set in Boston. Tyson Ross took to the mound for the Tigers opposite Eduardo Rodriguez for the BoSox. Unfortunately, the Tigers will have to wait until Thursday to clench the series after a poor performance on both sides of the ball in an 11-4 loss.

The game began with Jeimer Candelario weakly grounding out to short, followed by a Nick Castellanos walk on four pitches — though ball four was a clear strike. Miguel Cabrera followed up with a shallow fly ball to right field that Castellanos almost got doubled off at first on. Niko Goodrum would strike out on a 2-2 pitch low and outside to end the frame.

Tyson Ross began his day with a full-count strike out of Andrew Benintendi in an eight-pitch at-bat. He followed that up with another full-count punch-out, this time on a slightly more efficient seven pitches against Mookie Betts; both strike outs were of the swinging variety. Ross then got Mitch Moreland to ground out on the first pitch to end the inning.

Brandon Dixon went down quickly to start the second on a groundout to short. Ronny Rodriguez followed up with a swinging strike out on a nasty circle change. Gordon Beckham also went down swinging, this time on only three pitches, to send the Tigers down.

Old friend J.D. Martinez scorched a cutter to lead off the bottom half of the second. With a full count, Ross was only able to erase Xander Bogaerts on a fielder’s choice to shortstop. A single just past the outstretched glove of Gordon Beckham by Rafael Devers brought in the first run as Martinez crossed the plate. Devers would quickly erase himself caught stealing on an absolutely perfect throw from Grayson Greiner.

Michael Chavis took Tyson to a full count before taking the base-on-balls, after which he found himself on third after a base hit by Jackie Bradley, Jr. Christian Vasquez beat the shift perfectly with a grounder to the opposite side to bring in the second run of the inning. The rally ended with a fly out to center by Benintendi.

The top of the third saw Greiner groundout after working a full-count, followed by a JaCoby Jones strike out looking. Candelario flew out to right field to add another goose egg to the Tigers’ scoreline.

Ross came out in the bottom half of the inning strong, sending Betts down on three straight strikes and getting Moreland to ground out to erase the first two batters. J.D. refused to go down easy, smacking a ground rule double that got wedged in one of the park’s garage doors. Bogaerts quickly ended the thread on a sharp grounder to third off the first pitch.

Castellanos was unable to get into the hit column to start the fourth, lining out to right field. Miggy struck out on three straight pitches, with Goodrum grounding out on the first pitch to continue the Tigers’ hitting woes. Four innings down, no hits on the board yet. Yes, I’m trying to jinx the no-hitter here.

Candelario made a nice play at third to keep Devers off base to begin the Red Sox side of the inning on a sharply hit grounder. Ross then struck out Chavis swinging on a high inside fastball that he had him fooled on. Bradley, Jr. then flew out to right to seal the much-needed quick frame for Tyson.

Dixon took Rodriguez to a full count to lead off the fifth, grinding out a seven pitch walk to put only the second man on base for the Tigers so far. Rodriguez would quickly fly out to right on a pitch high in the zone. Gordon Beckham would then line a pitch off the outside of the plate over the shortstop’s head to put the first hit of the game for the good guys. With a man in scoring position and one out, Greiner took the count full only to strike out on a pitch high out of the zone. The scoring threat ended when Jones swung at another beautiful changeup from Rodriguez low and outside of the zone to strike out.

Ross got Vasquez out quickly on one pitch to start the bottom of the inning, followed by a walk to Benintendi. Betts drilled the very next pitch off the Green Monster for an RBI double. Yet another walked batter comes back to haunt the Tigers starter. Moreland would follow up with a full-count walk on seven pitches, and Martinez would continue to punish his former team with an RBI single to up the score to 4-0. With runners at first and second, Bogaerts struck out swinging after a nin-pitch at-bat for Ross’ fifth punch out of the game. Devers then quickly flew out on the first pitch to end the threat.

Candelario led off the top of the sixth with a nice line drive double into the left field gap, which Castellanos followed with his second walk of the night. Cabrera flew out deeply to centerfield, allowing Candelario to scamper over to third in position for the sac fly off Goodrum’s bat that ultimately brought him home and finally put the Tigers in the scoring column. Unfortunately, the rally ended with Dixon popping out in foul territory to the first baseman to end the inning.

Reed Garrett relieved Ross to begin the bottom half, and gave up the ever-dreaded leadoff walk to Chavis. Jones made a great play in centerfield to rob Bradley, Jr. of a hit — likely extra bases and a run — to save Garrett’s bacon and keeping the runner at first. That ended up being key, as Greiner gunned down his second runner of the game trying to steal second on a heads-up play by the Tigers battery. Vasquez would then fly out to right to end the inning.

On to the seventh frame, Brandon Workman came in to face Rodriguez and got him to strike out swinging on a pitch in the dirt. Beckham then managed a full-count walk on a very close ball four to get on base to get make things interesting; that interest was nullified by back-to-back strike outs from Greiner and Jones.

Betts reached first on an infield single due to an errant throw that pulled Cabrera off of the first base bag leading off the bottom half of the inning. Moreland flew out on the next pitch, and Martinez followed suit with his own flyball out to right. Garrett then hung a slider to Bogaerts the was grounded hard for a base hit, putting a runner in scoring position at second base. Manager Ron Gardenhire decided to bring in Jose Fernandez, who got Devers to ground out on a comebacker that bounced off of him over to Beckham for the squash the threat.

Candelario struck out on a foul tip in the top of the eighth against reliever Matt Barnes, with Castellanos following in suit going down swinging as well. Cabrera knocked a solid single to center with two outs, and Goodrum grinded out an eight-pitch walk to extend the inning. Dixon then poked a grounder through the left side of the infield to load the bases for Rodriguez. Ronny would strike out on three straight sliders, leaving all of the ducks on the pond and ending the best scoring opportunity of the evening so far.

Fernandez remained in the game in the bottom of the frame, only to hit the leadoff batter Chavis with a pitch. He bounced back with a strikeout of Bradley, Jr, but stung on the next two batters. Vasquez hit a sharp single to drive in a run, followed by a double by Benintendi on the first pitch he saw to drive him in. Betts was walked intentionally to set up the double play, which was nullified by an eight-pitch walk to Moreland to load the bases.

Drew VerHagen was brought into the game to put out the fire, and got J.D. to strike out on a foul tip on only three pitches. He then walked in a run by throwing four straight balls to Bogaerts. Drew continued to throw out of the strike zone by tossing seven straight balls until finally notching a strike on the outside edge to Devers on a 3-0 pitch, only to walk him — and another run in — on the next pitch way outside. The order came around full circle with Chavis’ at-bat, who saw four straight balls from VerHagen, resulting in yet another run crossing the plate for the BoSox.

Buck Farmer got the call to stop the bleeding down 9-1, and instead of applying a tourniquet, he exacerbated the wound even further by giving up a two-RBI base hit to Bradley, Jr. Farmer finally got the Tigers onto the medivac with a ground out to second base to lead them out of the killing fields.

With one last chance in the top of the ninth, Beckham drew a leadoff walk off of Boston pitcher Tyler Thornburg. Greiner followed him with a flyball out to center, who was mimicked by Jones with one of his own. Unwilling to go down without a fight, Candelario drew a two-out walk to keep the Tigers alive, opening up an opportunity for Castellanos to single home Beckham on a liner off the Green Monster. Dustin Peterson pinch-hit for Cabrera and continued the late-inning rally with a hard ground ball double down the third base line to plate two more runs. Goodrum finally ended the threat and the game on a three-pitch strikeout.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the game

Good: Grayson Grenier looked good behind the plate, gunning down two runners at second and showing some overall guile in his game calling. Special mention to JaCoby Jones’ glove in centerfield.

Bad: The Tigers offense. It was... offensive, in the negative sense of the word. They got no-hit into the fifth inning and failed to capitalize on several of their scoring opportunities, wasting far too many at-bats with first-pitch outs. Sure, they managed to scrap a few runs in garbage time, but it was too little, too late.

Ugly: Whoa boy, the bottom of the eighth inning was completely craptastic. That seven run inning — the most runs the Tigers have given up in a single inning this season — was punctuated by Drew VerHagen’s inability to find the plate, as three runs walked in. While the game already seemed a bit out of reach at the time, all hope was quickly lost as the bullpen completely fell into shambles.

Performance of the Game: Spaz guy. Because he’s the adult version of the cotton candy girl meme, and everyone should be this excited about baseball.