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White Sox 7, Tigers 5: Starting pitching is a problem right now

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Willi Castro made a triumphant return to Detroit, but Matthew Boyd just couldn’t get on track.

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Well, was this the game that The Real Matthew Boyd would finally stand up?

Unfortunately, I fear it is. He looked dominant at times, but gave up some dingers and other assorted hard hits. That’s been the story for the year-plus with Boyd, and today was a microcosm of that.

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know. The Tigers’ starters’ ERA was last in the league and over 6 coming into today’s game, and it went up from there. Yikes. But, who knew the bullpen would be so solid so far? Baseball’s a funny game.

A pair of Castros were in the starting lineup for the Tigers: Harold batted seventh and started in center, with Willi batting ninth and manning third. Jeimer Candelario got the start at first in place of CJ Cron, whose return is a giant question mark.

Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez started the game with back-to-back solo dingers, continuing Boyd’s home homer woes. Jonathan Schoop got a run back in the bottom of the first, though, with a solo home run just over Luis Robert’s glove in straightaway centre.

From there, Boyd mostly settled down for a while, pitching a quick 1-2-3 second before Anderson led off the third with a first-pitch triple; Jose Abreu plated Anderson with a groundout to put Chicago up 3-1. Boyd then stranded a pair of runners in the fourth by getting Ryan Goins to line out to center to keep the two-run deficit.

Jeimer Candelario sliced a line-drive double to right to lead off the bottom of the fourth; it’s been nice to see his bat rounding into shape lately. Victor Reyes followed by taking first on a passed-ball swinging third strike, pushing Candelario to third. Reyes took second uncontested, then Grayson Greiner tied the score with a sharp, first-pitch double to right-centre. On the very next pitch, Willi Castro blasted a two-run home run to right to put the Tigers up 5-3.

Boyd got into trouble in the fifth, with a single-walk-infield single loading the bases with one out. A liner to Niko Goodrum at short got the second out, but consecutive doubles by Robert and Nomar Mazara ended Boyd’s day and put Chicago up 7-5.

John Schreiber ended the inning by getting Danny Mendick to pop up, but the damage was done. Schreiber gave up a single in the sixth to Anderson — his fourth hit of the day — but finished the sixth. He’s pretty quietly had a scoreless seven innings so far this season.

Meanwhile Dylan Cease pitched six mostly-solid innings for the White Sox, save for the four in the fourth. Lots of sliders, hitting 99 with the fastball in his last inning. Nasty.

Bryan Garcia looked to build on his great outing closing out Monday night’s win; could he take over for the injured Buck Farmer, perhaps? He started his outing by whiffing Edwin Encarnacion before giving up a single to old friend James McCann. A couple of sterling defensive plays by Willi Castro and Goodrum on hard-hit balls got Garcia out of the inning, so let’s just call this a “work in progress.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Willi Castro singled for his third hit of the day; with two outs, Schoop singled to put two on for Miguel Cabrera. Alas, Evan Marshall induced a ground ball to snuff out the Tigers’ threat.

Jose Cisnero was the next pitcher up, and his 1-2-3 eighth was both brief and welcome. Aside from a shaky first outing, he’s been mostly solid in the back end of the bullpen.

The latest episode of the Gregory Soto Show then dropped; coming into this game, he had allowed one walk and one hit to 31 batters. After a leadoff single to Jimenez on a weird foul-fair chopper down the third base line, Abreu struck out on a triple-digit fastball, and Encarnacion whiffed on an impossible slider. After a walk, Soto got Robert to strike out as well. Is this “striking out the side?” It’s three strikeouts in an inning, right? (I personally think it isn’t.)

Ultimately the Tigers were set down easily in the ninth by the White Sox closer, Alex Colome, giving the series to Chicago. Relax, though, we’ll see ‘em again soon.

Numbers, Numbers, Who Likes Numbers?

  • The Tigers are in the middle of a 10-day stretch in which they play the White Sox seven times.
  • This was Willi Castro’s first-ever start at third base in the major leagues. He played three innings there in a game in Toledo last year, which was the sum total of his professional hot-corner experience before today.
  • Three of Eloy Jimenez’s first nine career at-bats against Matthew Boyd resulted in home runs, including his first at-bat today.
  • Grayson Greiner was 0-for-11 this season before his fourth-inning double.
  • No numbers here, but Dan Dickerson suggested “FulNor” to describe the Fulmer-Norris piggyback start this upcoming weekend against Cleveland. I think this might be too close to “Trogdor,” but time will tell.