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!
Matthew Boyd struck out eight hitters in seven innings, and the simulated Detroit Tigers rode a four-run third inning to a 4-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon. The win helped Detroit avoid a sweep in Oakland, and moved them to 4-2 on their current nine-game road trip.
There wasn’t a lot of action in this one, save for the Tigers’ big inning. Christin Stewart doubled to lead off the third, representing Detroit’s first baserunner of the game. In the next at-bat, Grayson Greiner hit a ball over center fielder Mark Canha’s head to score Stewart. The play was ruled an error, though Canha never touched the ball.
Regardless, didn’t stop there. Jeimer Candelario hit an RBI double to make it 2-0, and Victor Reyes hit a bloop single to right that Candelario was not able to advance on. Cameron Maybin hit a routine grounder to second that should have been the first out of the inning (if not a double play), but Sheldon Neuse bobbled it for Oakland’s second error of the frame. With the bases loaded and still no outs, Miguel Cabrera drew a walk to score another run. The A’s finally turned their double play after that on a C.J. Cron grounder, but a fourth run crossed the plate before Niko Goodrum finally popped out to end the inning.
That’s all the scoring the Tigers would need. Boyd was in control for his entire outing, limiting the A’s to five hits. He was rarely challenged, save for the fifth inning, when Matt Chapman crushed a hanging changeup for a solo home run, his 10th of the year, to make it 4-1. Chad Pinder followed with another hard-hit double off the top of the wall, but Boyd was able to settle down and record the final two outs of the inning. Boyd gave up another double in the sixth, but stranded that runner at second as well.
The Tigers had a few chances to add on to their tally, but none better than in the eighth. Cabrera singled to lead off the inning, and Cron followed with a five-pitch walk. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position with no outs, but, as the scoreline in the title suggests, they did not advance any further. After Goodrum struck out, Jonathan Schoop was intentionally walked to load the bases. But Yusmeiro Petit struck out Christin Stewart and induced a weak pop-out from Greiner to end the threat.
Fortunately for the Tigers, there were no bullpen collapses in the cards in this game. Shao-Ching Chiang worked a scoreless eighth with Buck Farmer unavailable, and Joe Jimenez bounced back from his rough outing on Wednesday to retire the side in order, recording his 11th save of the year.
The Tigers will head to Chicago for a three-game set against the White Sox to close out their long road trip. This is the first meeting between the Tigers and White Sox in 2020.