Perhaps it’s time for the Detroit Tigers to seriously consider shutting Spencer Turnbull down.
The starter has never thrown more than 128 1/3 innings in a season during his professional career and, after Sunday’s 4 2/3, six runs on eight hits shelling at the hands of the Minnesota Twins, he is at 125 1/3 in 2019. He has also dealt with a handful of injuries leading to a second half ERA nearing seven.
Oh yeah, and the Tigers lost again, this time by score of 8-3.
If you have watched practically any other game from this team over the season, it probably looked much like this one: the starting pitcher struggled and got hammered early on, the offense looked lost at the plate against a beatable foe (this time it was Michael Pineda, who cruised through six innings with five hits, two earned runs and nine strikeouts) and the Tigers went out without much of a fight.
In all fairness, Turnbull had a few good innings that were weighted down by a single catastrophic one. The Twins collected four singles, one walk, one hit by pitch, and a double in the second inning to tack five early runs on the starter to take an early — and eventually insurmountable — lead.
After a strong showing from Jose Cisnero, September call-up John Schreiber was unable to keep the Twins’ offense down as the AL Central leaders added two more runs against the rookie sidearmer.
The only anomaly that separated Sunday’s game from the others is that the Tigers did not commit any errors, though a few plays came close.
Detroit’s runs came off a Brandon Dixon RBI double, and Victor Reyes single and Jordy Mercer’s seventh home run of the season.
Sunday marked the 13th straight loss for the Tigers in a Turnbull start which is tied for the longest such streak in franchise history since 1908 (Ted Gray, 1952-53) according to Jason Beck, via Baseball Reference.
Former Tiger star and current friend of Detroit media Justin Verlander pitched his third career no-hitter and second at Toronto’s Rogers Centre as Detroit got pummeled.
With the September 1 loss, the Tigers have lost the first game of every month this season except for Opening Day’s 2-0 win over the Blue Jays on March 28.
There are still 28 games to go in 2019 and the Tigers have 94 losses, keeping them well on pace for their first 100 loss season since 2003. I can not decide which part of that is more unfortunate.