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Rays 5, Tigers 4: Matthew Boyd’s dominance goes to waste in a crusher

Boyd shook off the rust after a few rough outings but the bullpen could not hold on to get him the win.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We can almost read the comments already.

“Hey BYB, what do you mean Matthew Boyd isn’t good anymore?”

“Regression schmregression, Boyd will be in the Cy Young hunt next season!”

“The Tigers should fire Lloyd McLendon.”

To be fair, that last one comes in every day, so it is a bit of a freebie.

That said, our game preview spelled out that Boyd simply has not been good lately. In all fairness, we DID predict that he would bounce back today. We are proud to report that we were correct.

The lefty took on the playoff-contender Tampa Bay Rays and dominated, throwing seven innings with nine strikeouts — including his 200th of the season — surrendering only one run on two hits and two walks. Boyd retired the last 12 batters he faced.

Sunday was only the second time he has thrown at least six innings allowing one run or less since the beginning of June. It is the third start in which he did not allow a home run in the same time frame. It was also the first game this season that he threw seven innings with one run or less and the first such start since Sept. 8, 2018 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The outing was much appreciated by the Detroit bullpen after Saturday’s affair went 13 innings, requiring six relievers to appear. Two pitchers who did not appear in that game were Buck Farmer and Joe Jimenez.

They pitched today, though, and allowed four runs in 1 13 innings allowing the Rays to walk it off for the second time in less than 24 hours.

Things were not necessarily explosive offensively, but it seemed like it would have been enough behind Boyd’s marvelous outing.

It took the Tigers three batters on to outmatch yesterday’s zero-run effort when Harold Castro’s home run drove in Victor Reyes who reached with a walk.

Reyes and Castro got involved offensively again in the seventh. The former doubled in Gordon Beckham and then scored when the latter hit a sacrifice fly, bringing the lead to 4-1.

With a 4-1 eighth inning lead, Farmer looked off from the start, walking the first hitter he faced and eventually allowing a two-run home run to Tommy Pham. Not ideal, but the lead was still safe for the time being.

Then, in the ninth, Travis d’Arnaud reached on a Beckham throwing error, Willy Adames walked and Michael Brosseau hit an infield single — a ground ball that Dawel Lugo was unable to transfer — before Ji-Man Choi muscled a ground ball past Ronny Rodriguez to score two more and secure the win.

The Good

Did we mention that Boyd did well?

Aside from that, the Tigers lineup, which featured only two players from the opening day roster (and they were John Hicks and Gordon Beckham) out-hit Tampa Bay 10 to five. Reyes, Castro and Beckham each had two knocks apiece, while everybody in the lineup but Dawel Lugo and Jake Rogers at least one hit.

The Bad

Detroit hitters struck out 48 times and walked once during the three game series in Tampa Bay. It is no wonder they only scored six runs across the 31 innings.

The Ugly

Joe Jimenez has blown a fifth save this season and was done no favors by Farmer in front of him or the defense behind him. In a way, it seemed poetic: an amalgamation of everything that has gone wrong for the 2019 Tigers. Jimenez wasn’t without blame though. He fell behind hitters repeatedly and still has nothing to offer other than his fastball.

On top of that, the Tigers now hop on a plane and travel to Houston to take on Justin Verlander and the Astros in a four game series. Uh oh.