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 Detroit Tigers ranked dead last in the American League in home runs last season, but 2020 is a new year.
Well, yes, this is also a video game, but the simulated Tigers beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-1 on Saturday, scoring all of their runs via the home run ball. Better yet, all three dingers came courtesy of the bottom three hitters in their lineup: C.J. Cron, Austin Romine, and Jeimer Candelario.
Candelario got the party started for the Tigers in the second. Austin Romine lined a two-out single into center field, and Candelario followed with a blast to right field to put the Tigers up 2-0. The home run was Candelario’s third of the season — one of many stats you can find on our handy new spreadsheet. The Tigers added a run in the fourth when Cron took Angels starter Dylan Bundy deep for his fifth homer of the year.
Meanwhile, the Tigers were able to open up that 3-0 lead because Jordan Zimmermann spent his day dancing out of all sorts of trouble. The Angels put two runners on base in each of the first three innings, but were turned away all three times. Former Tiger Justin Upton grounded into two inning-ending double plays, and Zimmermann wiggled out of a two-on, no-out situation in the second. Even in the fourth, Zimmermann had to escape danger after giving up a two-out double.
All that bad luck finally came back to bite him in the fifth, but only just. Brandon Marsh led off the inning with a triple into the right field corner, and scored on an Andrelton Simmons groundout. But Zimmermann once again escaped, stranding Mike Trout after he reached on a two-out single.
The Tigers cemented their lead in the sixth. Niko Goodrum led off the inning with a double to left after a long at-bat, and Austin Romine drove him in with a two-run shot to left, his third of the year. The Angels threatened one last time in the ninth, down 5-1, but Joe Jimenez turned them away in a non-save situation to seal the win.