Showing a healthy disregard for any metropolitan area that considers french fries an appropriate item to put on a sandwich, the Tigers rolled into Pittsburgh and put up 30 runs over a three game series sweep. That’s pretty fun. Detroit returns to Comerica Park on Monday to open a home stand that starts with the Chicago White Sox coming to town. Let’s hope the winning continues.
Avoid the Boyd?
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News is here to give us the ol’ “wait a minute” on Matthew Boyd. While there are some who are apparently settling in to accept that the Boyd we are seeing is the Boyd of reality, McCosky will not be purchasing their wares. He looks to the front half of 2019, Boyd’s slider, and a truckload of strikeouts to posit that maybe Matthew is better than his current struggles. Of course he is. He’s shown that. What we’re looking at now is a pitcher not throwing the pitches he can. The slider is not sharp. The four seamer is not nearly as effective. No one in the organization seems worried. Some tuning up and a little bit better luck — opponents BABIP against him is a robust .417 — and Boyd believes he can right the ship.
Staying in the rotation
Speaking of starting pitching, we are in the stage of the 2020 season where not only is the ace of the squad struggling mightily, but we also find ourselves in the situation where Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer are going halfsies on the four spot in the rotation. Both hurlers are working their way back from injuries and anxious to make a positive impact. Fulmer, who will be the front end of this two-headed approach, can’t get consistent opportunities. With postponements and various other delays, he has seen his starts get pushed back. The consistency issues with Norris are of another variety, and are quite familiar. He needs to figure out how to command his pitches.
Soto for real?
Gregory Soto has been one of the brightest spots of the early 2020 season. He has been lights out over his 7 2⁄3 innings pitched throwing close to 100 mph and striking out 10. The skills Soto has seemingly finally been able to harness have Ron Gardenhire pondering the future closing potential of the young pitcher. Gardy is not trying to stir controversy. Despite a couple rough outings, Joe Jimenez is still the closer, but it’s fun to think about the future of this bullpen with a dialed in Gregory Soto in it.
Lugo with something to prove
Leading up to last weeks final roster trimming, Dawel Lugo was understandably nervous. Ron Gardenhire could sense that Lugo was too worried about losing his roster spot to relax. After he made the cut his demeanor changed.
“Once we got past all that ... he relaxed,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been smiling and laughing. He’s always a happy kid, but I think him realizing right there that we think this guy’s still got a chance to be a player. It’s my job to get him out there on the field more so we see some of it.”
With that behind him, the organization is hoping that his performance makes a change for the better as well. He’s going to get many opportunities to prove that it will.
Nick Quintana and the jitters
After being selected 47th overall in last year’s draft, Nick Quintana shipped off to Single A West Michigan and fell flat on his face. He suffered across all offensive categories limping to a .454 OPS for the season. To say his performance was lackluster would be kind.
Quintana chalks it up to the jitters:
“I think, ultimately, it was first-year jitters,” Quintana said of his 2019 minor-league initiation, speaking last week from his Las Vegas home. “I guess, just trying to prove to your teammates and coaches and guys at the top why you were their pick, trying to perform, and all of that kind of adds up.
Quintana’s manager at West Michigan, Lance Parrish, agrees, and after watching him in camp earlier this year, Parrish sees a different player. Parrish is a big fan of Nick’s mental make-up and believes that will serve him well going forward. The biggest issue for Quintana going forward is getting his opportunity to prove that the Tigers made a good choice picking him in 2019. He’s going to have to wait until 2021 to start proving it.
Around the horn
Fair balls and foul language. Astros and Athletics clear the benches. How Olympic speed skater Eddy Alvarez made it to the show. Angels Adell commits a four base error. Indians send Plesac home after night out.