Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening, we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Now, onto the recap!
The simulated Detroit Tigers have been on a roll to open the season, to say the least. They blanked the Kansas City Royals 5-0 in their home opener on Monday, their third shutout in four games. In fact, Detroit’s pitching staff has put up a zero in 34 of the 35 innings they have pitched so far, leaving the Tigers atop the AL Central early on.
Jordan Zimmermann ran into a bit of trouble in the first when Whit Merrifield, who exists to annoy the Tigers in video games and real life, hit a hustle double with two outs. However, Zimmermann induced a fly out from Royals slugger Jorge Soler to end the threat.
The Tigers wasted little time getting on the board after that. Victor Reyes nearly missed a home run to open the bottom of the first, hitting Mike Montgomery’s second pitch off the top of the left field wall for a double. Cleanup hitter C.J. Cron drove Reyes in with a double of his own, putting the Tigers up 1-0. Jonathan Schoop followed with a two-out RBI single after working a deep count to double Detroit’s lead.
After a 1-2-3 second, Zimmermann ran into more trouble in the third. Maikel Franco doubled to open the inning, and Adalberto Mondesi laid down a perfect drag bunt to put runners at the corners with one out. But instead of the crooked innings we have come to expect from Zimmermann lately, he danced out of trouble when Alex Gordon grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Tigers immediately followed with a manufactured a run in the bottom of the frame. Reyes reached on a single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Cameron Maybin singled, moving Reyes to third with no outs. Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play in the next at-bat, scoring Reyes.
From there, it was all but over. Zimmermann was extremely efficient, needing just 73 pitches to get through 7 1⁄3 innings. Lefthander Gregory Soto came on to record the final two outs of the eighth inning, and Joe Jimenez worked a scoreless ninth inning in his first appearance of the simulated season.
Offensively, the Tigers added their final two runs in the seventh. Niko Goodrum singled, stole second base, and scored on a seeing-eye single from Austin Romine to put the Tigers up 4-0. Jeimer Candelario then tripled into the deep gap in right-center, scoring Romine from first.
With the win, the simulated Tigers moved to 3-1 on the season. They are off on Tuesday, and have one more game against Kansas City on Wednesday before kicking off another series with Cleveland over the weekend.
As I noted on Sunday, Matthew Boyd will be starting the next game ahead of fifth starter Ivan Nova, who will pitch on Thursday. I also need to get players like Dawel Lugo, Harold Castro, and Jordy Mercer into the lineup for the first time, as well as find a spot for Michael Fulmer’s first appearance of the year.