A mixture of good and bad performances peppered Monday’s intrasquad matchup as the Detroit Tigers got their final tuneup before heading to Cincinnati.
Ivan Nova started his outing with style, punching out JaCoby Jones with a crisp two-seam fastball on the outside black and got back to his old tricks by getting Victor Reyes to ground out on a two-ball count. Aside from an arrant curveball that whizzed by Cameron Maybin above eye-level, he seemed to get into the groove early on, but that devolved very quickly. He showed warning signs early, giving up a lot of solid contact, which would be his undoing in this game.
Matt Manning got the start for Team Slim opposite Nova, getting the opportunity to face a number of players who will feature heavily in the Tigers’ regular lineup once the season begins.
He hasn’t featured his best stuff or command in his previous Summer Camp outings, and his command wasn’t incredible out of the gate, but Manning didn’t have any trouble dispatching Niko Goodrum or Jonathan Schoop without giving up hard contact. Unfortunately, he left a poor breaking ball over the middle of the plate, which Miguel Cabrera poked into left field. Regardless, Manning recovered quickly with a quality at-bat against CJ Cron and drew two ugly swings and misses on low-90s fastballs.
Baserunning antics ensued in the top of the second inning with Harold Castro on first base and Grayson Greiner at the plate. Greiner barreled up the ball and drove it into the left field corner, allowing Harold Castro scamper home. Romine was unable to wrangle the slightly errant throw and Greiner attempted to take third on the play, but he took too long to decide and was thrown out.
The hard contact continued with the next two batters - Jordy Mercer dumped a single into left field and was driven home by a long line drive by Dawel Lugo. Lugo isn’t known for his speed but he took advantage of the fact that Bonifacio was out of position as the center fielder and managed to stretch it into an RBI triple. Nova managed to get out of the inning with only two runs on the ledger.
A poorly commanded breaking ball spooked JaCoby Jones in the top of the third, who ducked into the path of the ball and took it on the side of his helmet. Beyond the initial shock, he was completely unphased, took his base, and promptly stole second.
Not much of consequence happened until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Miguel Cabrera took a poor offering from John Schreiber into the deep part of the left/center gap. Schreiber bounced back quickly by challenging CJ Cron with a quality fastball for the strikeout and baiting Candelario into striking out on a slider below the zone.
Nova had poor command a mediocre stuff through the whole of his outing, and he paid the price. Team Slim tagged him for 8 runs in five innings. Jordy Mercer dealt the killing blow: a three run shot in the fifth inning.
Alex Lange made his Summer Camp debut in the bottom of the fifth inning and gave up a base hit to Brandon Dixon. He wasn’t shaken, and he struck out Goodrum on a well-placed curveball that drew a poorly timed swing. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam by drawing a popup from CJ Cron.
Buck Farmer, who hasn’t had his peak velocity at any point this summer, worked a quick inning and managed to stay on the edges of the strike zone. The broadcasters were raving for his changeup, which has looked great in all of his outings so far. Zach Hess followed Farmer with a similarly smooth inning, delivering mid-90s fastballs from his unusual, high-effort motion. He relied on that fastball for the bulk of the inning, but it didn’t much matter and he worked a 1-2-3 inning.
Jose Cisnero was decent as well, and he struck out Riley Greene on a fastball, but Isaac Paredes got on base thanks to a bad throw from Goodrum. Things fell apart a little bit for him when Eric Haase came to the plate, hitting a long double and scoring on a line drive single off the bat of Dillon Dingler. He induced a popup from Lugo and the game was wrapped at six and a half innings.
- Jeimer Candelario has looked significantly better in camp than we last saw him, and that continued today.
- Matt Manning had his best outing of Summer Camp today, but he still leaned heavily on his fastball while the curve was erratic.
- Alex Lange had virtually no command of his pitches in his first outing of camp, but his breaking balls were on point and he was reportedly in the mid-90s velocity range, which was higher than anticipated.
- Jordy Mercer is doing everything in his power to earn a roster spot and has looked better than most of the Tigers’ bench options.
- Riley Greene took only one at-bat, but Jack Morris tossed out a comp to Ted Williams approximately ten second before Cisnero struck him out looking.
- Eric Haase was optioned to the taxi squad in the middle of the game, but he took an at-bat in the seventh inning. The Tigers didn’t remove him from the 40-man roster and will probably give him the chance to force himself back onto the active roster. For now, he’ll work on the 3-man backup portion of the taxi squad and will travel with the team.