I have good news and I have bad news. The good news? The Detroit Tigers hit three home runs in a game for the second time this season. The bad news? All three home runs were solo shots and the Tigers bullpen had its weakest showing of this four-game series, allowing three runs. Detroit lost by a final score of 5-3 on Thursday and split their series with Kansas City.
I have to give Ivan Nova credit for this one. Eight hits allowed and only three strikeouts on the day do not make for great advanced metrics, but Nova was one out away from a quality start, which is all I asked for in our game preview. Meanwhile, Royals starting pitcher Brady Singer struggled with command in the first inning, but settled in to post a solid outing. Singer gave up home runs to Miguel Cabrera and Jonathan Schoop, but ultimately limited the damage by allowing these home runs with nobody on base. In the first inning, Schoop grounded into a double play just before Cabrera hit his first home run of the game.
Solo shots aside, the Tigers only put a runner in scoring position once all night. The Royals, meanwhile, put a runner in scoring position in seven different innings. Ultimately, this caught up to Detroit. While Nova’s start was decent, it gave the Tigers bullpen no margin for error. If you have been watching the Tigers for any period of your life, you know that is a recipe for disaster. Jose Cisnero allowed one run in the seventh inning, and Carson Fulmer allowed two runs in the eighth inning. On the bright side, Kyle Funkhouser bounced back from a historically bad major league debut to pitch a scoreless ninth.
To add insult to injury, former Tiger Trevor Rosenthal closed out this game to notch his first save of the season. Cameron Maybin knocked a single off of Rosenthal to start the ninth inning, but Rosenthal continued onward to retire Jeimer Candelario, Niko Goodrum, and even a red-hot JaCoby Jones to end the game, touching 100.1 miles per hour with his fastball in the process.
Next up, Detroit will host Cincinnati for a three-game series at Comerica Park (and yes, they are playing the Reds again already). Spencer Turnbull will face Luis Castillo in what should ultimately be an exciting pitcher’s duel.
Miguel Cabrera found his power stroke, knocking two home runs off of Royals pitching. Additionally, JaCoby Jones posted another solid outing tonight, going 1-for-3 with a walk. The new stance is clearly working.
It’s still kind of wild to me that JaCoby Jones literally changed his stance overnight last year, and he has a 120 wRC+ ever since. pic.twitter.com/RC9ziJwlbk— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) July 30, 2020
Carson Fulmer was roughed up in his second appearance for Detroit. The 26-year-old pitched a scoreless inning against the Royals on Monday, but his outing today was ultimately what sealed Detroit’s fate in this one.
Christin Stewart and Jeimer Candelario have both, at one point or another, been the strongest hitters in the Tigers’ farm system in past years. Following Thursday’s game, Stewart is now 2-for-17 on the season, while Candelario is an even worse 0-for-17. Plenty of great players have had worse hitting droughts than that, but these are very disappointing early returns from two former top-100 prospects in their age-26 seasons.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed
Miguel Cabrera (2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI)
Ivan Nova (5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)
Kyle Funkhouser (1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
JaCoby "Crown Jewel" Jones (1-3, 1 BB)