After an inspiring performance on Monday, the Detroit Tigers weren’t able to get much going against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night. Tyler Alexander made his first start of the season and was jumped on early by Chicago’s hitters. Meanwhile, the Tigers offense never woke up, and early White Sox runs propelled them to an 8-4 victory.
After his record-setting performance against the Cincinnati Reds, Alexander was given a chance to start as the Tigers continue to sort out the final spot in their rotation. It was a stark contrast from his last outing, however, as the White Sox plated four first inning runs, capped off by a three-run home run by Eloy Jimenez. Alexander settled down for two innings after that, but a fourth inning homer from Edwin Encarnacion gave the Sox a commanding 5-0 lead.
Alexander’s calling card is his command. A lefthander who throws four pitches but doesn’t feature a power fastball needs to be able to command the strike zone to find success in the majors. Before Tuesday’s start, he was doing that and more. After this game though — a game in which he gave up two home runs and allowed three walks in 3 2⁄3 innings — it would seem that Alexander is better suited for the long relief role that he has already had success in. While we don’t know for sure if this start was his one-time chance to make an impression, it looks like fifth starter spot is still in flux.
If only there was an elite major league ready starting pitching prospect they could call upon...
A single swing of the bat accounted for two of the Tigers’ runs, as Austin Romine hit his second home run of the season in the fifth to cut Chicago’s lead to 5-2. After placing first baseman C.J. Cron on the 10-day injured for a knee sprain, the Tigers called up Willi Castro to serve in a utility role while Jeimer Candelario shifts from third base to first. While many thought Dawel Lugo would be designated for assignment last week when roster sizes shrunk from 30 to 28, manager Ron Gardenhire stated before the game that it would be Lugo who would take the majority of the reps at third. In what was only his second start of the season, he went 1-for-3 with a single.
Rony Garcia followed Alexander and allowed one run over 2 1⁄3 innings pitched. The Carson Fulmer Experience followed in the seventh, and he allowed two runs on two hits and a hit batsmen. Mercifully, Fulmer didn’t come back out for a second inning as the newly recalled Beau Burrows pitched a perfect eighth with a strikeout, and Kyle Funkhouser a perfect ninth with two punchouts.
Pinch hitting for Lugo in the ninth with one out and two runners on base via walks, Hittin’ Harold Castro picked up his first RBI of the season on a line drive single to left field that brought the Tigers within five. A Romine fielder’s choice scored the Tigers’ fourth run, but that was all she wrote.
The Tigers moved to 9-6 on the year with the rubber match in their series against the White Sox scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Matthew Boyd (0-1, 9.20 ERA) needs to bounce back in a big way to get his 2020 season on track, and will face off opposite of rookie right hander Dylan Cease (2-1, 4.05 ERA).