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 continued their hot start on Saturday, coming from behind to win in walk-off fashion for the second day in a row. C.J. Cron’s liner into center scored Niko Goodrum in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
This game mirrored Detroit’s win on Friday in many ways. The Tigers offense took a while to get going, and squandered several run scoring chances along the way. They loaded the bases in the first inning — in part thanks to rookie Ernie Clement’s error at short — but were unable to push any runs across. They put runners on first and second with no outs in the third, but were also turned away. And, for good measure, rallies in the second and fourth were thwarted by double plays.
Luckily for the Tigers, Spencer Turnbull was up to the task. He was sharp through the first six innings, allowing just four hits and a walk. Cleveland’s lone rally against him at that point — a runner on second base in the fifth — was snuffed out when Turnbull picked off Cesar Hernandez at second.
The Tigers finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth, but were once again left wanting more. They loaded the bases with no outs, and narrowly missed a big inning when Niko Goodrum hit a deep fly ball to center. Tyler Naquin was able to run it down, however, keeping the Tigers to just one run on the sacrifice fly. C.J. Cron came up with runners at the corners and one out, but grounded into an inning-ending double play.
For a while, it looked like that inning would come back to haunt the Tigers. Cleveland broke through against Turnbull in the top of the seventh, plating a run to tie the game. Franmil Reyes hit a fly ball deep to right field that was misplayed by Victor Reyes, putting him on second base with no outs. Naquin moved him over to third base on a ground ball, and Domingo Santana drove in the run with a double to left-center. After an intentional walk to Carlos Santana, Turnbull’s day was done. Buck Farmer came on and induced a double play to end the threat.
The eighth inning didn’t go so well for Farmer, however. He walked Cesar Hernandez to open the inning, and allowed an easy stolen base not long after. Jose Ramirez made the Tigers pay with a double to right just over Victor Reyes’ outstretched glove, putting the Indians up 2-1.
That lead would be short-lived, though. Jeimer Candelario tied the game with a home run to deep right field in the eighth, and the Tigers pushed another run across in the ninth to win it. Goodrum hit a second deep fly ball to center, but this one found grass, resulting in a triple with no outs. Cron wasted little time after that, working a deep count against Adam Cimber before lining a pitch into center to score Goodrum for the 3-2 victory.
About that Victor Reyes pickoff...
One of my few gripes with MLB The Show as a franchise involves pickoffs. To my knowledge, there is no way to prevent getting picked off, other than taking a smaller lead off from a base. In most cases, the game gives you something of a “warning shot,” with a pickoff throw that doesn’t get the runner. If you take a big lead again, there’s a good chance that runner could be picked off.
In this case, there was no warning; Reyes, who was not stealing on that play — I was thinking about it, hence the big lead — was just picked off. I’d like to see them incorporate the slow-motion play from other game modes (like Road to the Show) that actually gives you a chance to get back to the base.