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!
We haven’t quite reached the All-Star break, but the simulated Detroit Tigers have already accomplished something the 2019 Tigers were not able to: win 50 games. The sim Tigers picked up victory number 50 as Jordan Zimmermann logged his 100th career win in a 5-3 decision over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday evening.
There was little action to speak of for the first four innings, as the two team logged a combined three hits. Detroit had the lone scoring opportunity to speak of, nearly plating a run in the first inning. Harold Castro led off the game with a walk, and advanced to third base on a Miguel Cabrera single. But C.J. Cron’s fly ball to center wasn’t quite deep enough, and Castro was thrown out at the plate by Mike Trout to end the frame.
Things picked up quickly in the fifth. Niko Goodrum led off the top half of the inning with a solo home run, his 19th of the season. Clint Frazier continued the rally with a walk later in the frame, and Jake Rogers’ bloop single moved Frazier into scoring position. But the Tigers’ right fielder had a bad few minutes after that. First, he was thrown out at the plate on a sharp single from Castro. Then, in the bottom of the inning, he misplayed a ball off the right field wall, allowing a would-be double from known slugger Erick Salcedo to turn into an RBI triple. A routine groundout from Michael Hermosillo scored Salcedo, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead after five.
But for as sharp as Julio Teheran was for six innings, the Angels’ bullpen... was not. After Teheran was pulled following a walk in the seventh, reliever Keynan Middleton gave up three consecutive hits, which put the Tigers in front, 3-2. Frazier made amends with an RBI double to tie the game, and Rogers followed with a single to put the Tigers ahead. A JaCoby Jones double spelled the end of Middleton’s evening, and Harold Castro got the better of lefthander Ryan Buchter, poking a single into left to score two more runs.
The Tigers needed those insurance runs in the end. Jason Castro tightened things up with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh, Zimmermann’s final inning. After Shao-Ching Chiang worked a quick eighth, Joe Jimenez gave up a couple of hits in the ninth, putting the tying run on base. But the hard-throwing closer came back to strike out both Brandon Marsh and pinch hitter Shohei Ohtani, recording his 19th save of the year.
Following Wednesday’s game, the CPU made another idiotic trade offer that I could not refuse. The Tigers shipped starter Zack Godley, who had been pitching well down in Triple-A Toledo, to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for 25-year-old reliever Seranthony Dominguez.
Is it realistic? Not in the slightest. But I think we’re a bit past that at this point. Let’s see if these Tigers can catch up in the Wild Card race.
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