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Rangers 5, Tigers 4: Oh yeah, the offense is still bad

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The Tigers looked like a team without Nicholas Castellanos in a mistake-filled loss in Texas.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

After riding a two-day high following a solid trade deadline and a series win over the Los Angeles Angels, the Detroit Tigers came back to earth on Friday evening. Rangers starter Lance Lynn struck out 10 hitters in seven innings, and the Tigers offense missed too many opportunities in a 5-4 loss down in Texas.

The Tigers struck first in this one, and threatened to make it a short night for Lynn. JaCoby Jones and Niko Goodrum led off the game with singles, putting two runners on base with no outs. Lynn retired the next two hitters he faced, but Harold Castro came through with a two-out RBI single that scored Jones and put the Tigers up 1-0. Castro then stole second base, putting two runners in scoring position, but Victor Reyes grounded out to end the inning.

From there, the Tigers did not record another hit against Lynn for four innings. The 32-year-old righthander set down 10 Tigers in a row after Castro’s RBI single, and hardly broke a sweat until the fifth. Travis Demeritte, making his MLB debut after the Tigers acquired him on Wednesday, drew a walk to open the inning. After Lynn retired a pair of hitters, Demeritte stole second base. JaCoby Jones then walked to put two runners on. Niko Goodrum should have joined Demeritte and Jones on base, but a terrible 3-0 strike call turned his at-bat around, and Goodrum eventually flew out to end the frame.

Meanwhile, the Rangers offense was busy teeing off against Tigers starter Tyler Alexander. They scored single runs in the first, third, fourth, and fifth innings to take a 4-1 lead, and sent the Tigers to their bullpen after 5 23 frames. To the credit of both Alexander and Eduardo Jimenez (who relieved Alexander in the sixth), they kept the score from getting much worse. Alexander gave up 10 hits before departing, and the Rangers stranded seven runners on base through the first six innings.

But, uh, yeah... this is not good.

The Tigers finally broke through with another hit against Lynn in the sixth. Demeritte hit a grounder past the third baseman, then turned a would-be double into a triple when he turned on the jets as left fielder Willie Calhoun collected the ball down in the corner. Unfortunately, Demeritte was stranded at third when Jake Rogers struck out and Jordy Mercer grounded out softly to end the inning.

After the Rangers added an insurance run via a Hunter Pence homer in the seventh, the Tigers plated a run in the eighth. Goodrum hit a one-out hustle double, then scored on an RBI single from Miguel Cabrera. Harold Castro singled to put two runners on, but Reyes grounded out to second (again) to end the inning (again).

The Tigers plated another run with a late ninth inning rally. Demeritte led off the inning with another walk, and advanced to third on a two-out single from Jones. Goodrum plated Demeritte with a single, and Jones scored on a wild pitch after the Tigers loaded the bases to make it a one run game. The Rangers eventually got out of the jam, however, as Jeimer Candelario grounded out to end the game.

The positive things!

  • Harold Castro had two hits, and is now batting .296 on the season. It’s the emptiest .296 batting average you could imagine, but he’s inching towards league average production at the plate.
  • Travis Demeritte filled up the stat sheet with a triple, two walks, and stolen base. He saw 22 pitches in his four plate appearances, and took some close pitches leading up to his walks.
  • Niko Goodrum collected three hits and is wonderful.
  • Dan Petry was a nice addition to the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast booth, as usual.