We are well into the point of the season where any kind of minor single-game storyline is an upgrade over whatever we are bound to get from the product on the field on any given night.
On Monday, the minor story was that rookie righthander Spencer Turnbull would make his first start since July 17 against the Chicago White Sox after being activated from the injured list. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the Tigers from losing 7-4.
Before the game, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire noted that Turnbull would be held to about 75 pitches to aid in rebuilding his arm strength. That made an already nerve-wracking 34-pitch first inning even more troublesome.
After loading the bases in the first, Turnbull induced a two-out pop-up from Matt Skole that dropped harmlessly into right field, allowing the Sox to claim an early 2-0 lead.
The good news is that Turnbull allowed only two more baserunners afterward, and seven of his nine outs were via swinging third strikes.
The bad news is that he only threw two more innings and was pulled after the third at 76 pitches.
Fortunately, the offense uncharacteristically offered Turnbull some run support. Jake Rogers singled in Travis Demeritte (yay, prospects!) in the bottom of the second, and JaCoby Jones launched a line-drive solo home run to right field in the third to tie things up.
If ✖️ + = home run— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) August 6, 2019
Then solve for ✖️ pic.twitter.com/MK6gUDka9g
It would not last long, as Gregory Soto gave the lead right back up in his first inning of relief, allowing two more runs capped off with another run-scoring blooper.
As is what happens with the 2019 Tigers, things fell off the rails from there.
Detroit managed runs in the sixth and ninth innings on ground outs, but Chicago scored three in the eighth off Buck Farmer to serve as the proverbial nails in the coffin, and the game ended as unceremoniously as it began. Detroit has once again fallen into a four-game losing streak.
JaCoby Jones hit a triple to go with his home run, making Monday his first multi-extra base hit game since June 8 and second multi-hit game in four days.
While the White Sox “only” scored seven runs, Chicago hitters collected 14 hits, five walks and one hit by pitch. Their 20 base runners is the 10th-most Tigers pitchers have allowed in 108 games.
Monday marked the 21st game this season in which the Tigers committed at least two errors... and that doesn’t even account for all the missed plays that were ruled hits.