The Detroit Tigers got decent work from a hodgepodge of arms pushed beyond their capacity, but as usual butchered things defensively and at the plate to lose their third straight in this, the easy portion of their road swing. The Mariners mauled the Tigers 8-1 despite striking out 16 times in the contest.
Tyler Alexander has been a minor revelation thus far in his MLB tenure. Long given up on as org depth, he and Toledo Mud Hens’ pitching coach Juan Nieves have made some adjustments to improve his deception, and that, plus good command, helped the young lefty flourish early on. He punched out six of the first eight batters he faced, and continues to look like a potential middle reliever on a real major league team.
JaCoby Jones came up with a one-out double in the third, and scored on a Niko Goodrum single to get the Tigers on the board first. That accounted for basically all of their offensive output against noted ace...(checks notes) Marco Gonzales? Ok.
If you turned the game off at this point, you made the right move on a sunny Saturday. Alexander never was hit too hard, and continued to collect the strikeouts, but a few singles and the abject fundamental butchery on display nightly from Tigers’ defenders helped Seattle to a three-run fourth. In the fifth, Alexander worked into a jam and his deception was fading as the Mariners got comfortable. With one run in, Ramirez settled things back down and handled the sixth with no issues.
The offense continued to flail impotently in the meantime.
Ramirez finally got into real trouble in the seventh. With two runs in and two in scoring position, the Tigers turned to Gregory Soto. Soto gave up a two-run ground rule double before settling in to escape the jam. He worked into and out of another jam in the eighth without surrendering a run.
But of course pitching is pretty far from this club’s fundamental issues. Mental mistakes from Gordon Beckham and Niko Goodrum, who struggled mightily moving between the corner outfield spots the past two games, hurt the Tigers. But nothing is as damaging as forcing your pitchers to be perfect while pitching from behind every night.
This offense is historically inept, and no cries of “rebuilding” excuse it. They give away multiple bases day after day, despite the mouth service to fundamental baseball by the coaches and organization generally. They play people out of position in deference to veterans who shouldn’t be in the major leagues anymore. It’s a clown show.
But hey, they only need to win 21 percent of their remaining games to reach 43 wins on the year and avoid the worst record in franchise history. It seems likely they can avoid that fate, while still tanking sufficiently to get the first overall pick again in 2020. You’ve got to set reasonable goals, right? Stay tuned!