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!
Well, it was going to happen eventually. The simulated Detroit Tigers’ run of strong starting pitching ended on Sunday, as Jordan Zimmermann was roughed up for five runs in an ugly 10-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The loss dropped Detroit to 6-3 on the year, and gave them a four-game home split against the Tribe on the weekend.
The Indians made some hard contact against Zimmermann to open the game, but he avoided trouble after a two-out double by striking out Franmil Reyes to end the inning. Zimmermann settled in after that, working very efficiently through the first five frames. He gave up some hard contact, but most of it went foul. He gave up just a hit and a walk — both to Francisco Lindor — through his first five innings.
The Tigers offense took a few innings to settle in, but finally started to make some harder contact against Indians starter Zach Plesac in the fourth. Miguel Cabrera lined a first-pitch fastball into left for the Tigers’ first hit of the game. C.J. Cron nearly broke the scoreless tie one batter later, but his deep fly ball was caught at the warning track. Niko Goodrum drew a walk to put two runners on, but Jonathan Schoop grounded out to end the threat.
That hard contact continued in the fifth, but the Tigers were still unable to break through. Harold Castro opened the inning with a double off the right field wall. Austin Romine hit the ball hard in his at-bat, but straight at first baseman Carlos Santana, advancing Castro to third. The Tigers squandered the opportunity from there, however; Dawel Lugo took strike three looking on a painted fastball from Plesac, and Victor Reyes grounded out weakly, ending the inning.
Things quickly unraveled from there. Zimmermann gave up five consecutive hits to start the sixth inning, all of which came around to score. Roberto Perez started the Cleveland rally with a double, followed by a Cesar Hernandez single. Oscar Mercado, continuing to give the Tigers hell, doubled home Perez, and Francisco Lindor added to his tally with a two-run single, putting Cleveland up 3-0. A mound visit from manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t help. Zimmermann gave up a two-run home run to Franmil Reyes, and was quickly yanked after.
Sadly, that wasn’t the end of it. Tyler Alexander walked the first batter he faced, then allowed a seeing-eye single to Domingo Santana with one out. A C.J. Cron error* scored another Cleveland runner, and Cesar Hernandez singled home two more runs for good measure.
The Tigers offense put up a bit of a fight after that, scoring a run. Cameron Maybin led off the inning with a triple, and scored on a Cabrera single. The Tigers made more hard contact after that, but as had been the case for most of the day, it was not rewarded. Cron flew out to deep left again, and Goodrum was retired on a 400-plus foot fly out to center.
The Tigers weren’t able to pull off the miracle comeback, though. Francisco Lindor added a two-run homer for good measure in the ninth inning, his third hit of the game.
I’m calling some B.S. on that C.J. Cron error
Remember when Cron made matters worse in the sixth by launching a throw into the seats? Yeah, that was fun. Runners were on the move during the pitch — some bush league tactics when up 5-0 already, really — so I pressed the button corresponding to third base in anticipation of throwing that runner out. Apparently the game remembered that, and granted my request after Cron had made a diving stop at first, instead of, you know, stepping on the bag for the easy out.
The Tigers head back out on the road on Monday for a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals. I will try to get some sort of stats update up on the site this week. I’m hoping to get it done for Monday morning, but it may have to wait until Detroit’s off day on Thursday.