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. Or, you know, at least get them back on schedule. Now, onto the recap!
Jordan Zimmermann made just two mistakes in an otherwise strong start against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, but thanks to the simulated Detroit Tigers’ hapless offense, the veteran righthander was saddled with his sixth loss of the season, this one a 3-2 defeat.
Zimmermann’s first mistake came in the top of the first. After Mark Canha reached on an infield single, Zimmermann got ahead of Matt Olson 0-2 with two outs in the inning. But Zimmermann’s slider didn’t break far enough in, and Olson hammered it to the deepest part of right-center for an RBI triple, giving the A’s a 1-0 lead.
After the Tigers squandered a couple of scoring chances, the A’s took advantage of another Zimmermann mistake in the third. Austin Allen blooped a single over Jeimer Candelario’s head — I’m not sure why the game wouldn’t let me move him back five feet to catch the weak pop-up, but that’s not the point here — to open the inning. Leadoff hitter Tony Kemp followed with a two-run homer off a hanging curveball (in another two-strike count, no less) to stretch the A’s advantage to 3-0.
Meanwhile, the Tigers offense couldn’t get anything going. They stranded the bases loaded in the top of the first, and anything remotely hard after that was generally straight at an Oakland defender. They finally broke through in the sixth when Miguel Cabrera reached on a one-out double. C.J. Cron followed with a strikeout, but Niko Goodrum came through with an RBI single to right, scoring Cabrera.
The Tigers pushed another run across in the eighth. Harold Castro singled to lead off the inning, and moved up to third on another Cabrera double — one that was nearly caught in the outfield, otherwise Castro would have easily scored from first. The odd circumstances on the play did not matter, however, as Cron followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Castro. But the tying run would be stranded at third, as Goodrum’s deep fly ball in the next at-bat was swallowed up by Comerica Park’s vast outfield.
That eighth inning would prove to be Detroit’s best chance to tie the game, as Joakim Soria set the Tigers down in order in the ninth for his 21st save of the year.
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