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 took another lead into the late innings only to see their bullpen falter. This time, a trio of relievers combined to give up a 2-0 lead — mostly at the hands of real-life Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon — in a 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
This game deserves a bit of a peek behind the scenes. I had a lot of trouble seeing the ball while hitting in the early innings (yet somehow pushed across a run in the first inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead). You will see multiple camera angles — starting with a rather awkward close-up on someone’s groin — in the second or third inning as I attempted to change the angle ever so slightly. It didn’t work, but the lighting improved as the game went on.
Additionally, fielding in this year’s version of MLB The Show has been a bit of a problem. There are plenty of articles about the specifics all around the internet, and these bugs partially explain why some of the outfield defense has been suspect throughout this simulation. They bit me hard in another game mode this morning, but other than a weird animation from Harold Castro in left field later in the game, things ran smoothly throughout this one.
Anyway, the game itself. Niko Goodrum drove in Victor Reyes in the first to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. C.J. Cron doubled the Tigers’ lead in the fourth with a solo home run, his sixth of the season. He also drew his first walk of the year (!), leaving the simulated Tigers with just one everyday player who still has an identical batting average and on-base percentage. Spencer Turnbull mowed through the Cleveland lineup for the first six innings, generating many of the same quick outs that Daniel Norris found on Wednesday.
Turnbull and the Tigers ran into a bit of resistance in the seventh. Franmil Reyes led off the inning with a double to right, but was caught trying to steal third on a ball in the dirt. Carlos Santana, of all people, beat out an infield single with two outs to extend the inning, when manager Ron Gardenhire opted to go to his bullpen with the left-handed Ryan McMahon coming up. The move backfired, however, as Tyler Alexander gave up a two-run homer to tie the game.
After the Tigers went quietly in the eighth, Buck Farmer came on for the bottom of the inning. He retired the first two hitters he faced quickly, but gave up a seeing-eye single to speedster Oscar Mercado. Francisco Lindor followed with an RBI double to left-center — the aforementioned weird animation from Harold Castro, though I don’t think he was going to catch the ball — to put the Indians up 3-2. After an intentional walk to Franmil Reyes, Farmer induced a Domingo Santana groundout to end the threat.
The Tigers weren’t quite done, though. Niko Goodrum singled with one out in the ninth, and Jonathan Schoop followed with an RBI double of his own off the right field wall to tie the game. The Indians answered quickly, however. Our buddy Ryan McMahon lined a double into the gap off Joe Jimenez with one out in the bottom, then scored when Ernie Clement (yes, a real person) singled into right field to deliver a game and series win.