Isaac Paredes made his long-awaited MLB debut, and drove in a pair of runs on his first career hit for the Detroit Tigers on Monday evening. Unfortunately, the rest of the game went horribly, and the Tigers lost their seventh straight game, this one a 7-2 decision to the Chicago White Sox.
The Detroit offense, which has been struggling as of late, started the game inauspiciously. Facing off against Gio González, who is also struggling, the top third of the Detroit lineup went down without much of a fight. JaCoby Jones and Will Castro both struck out, and Miguel Cabrera stubbed a little chopper to third base and was thrown out at first.
While Paredes’ debut was the big story of tonight’s game, the more important factor was how well Matthew Boyd would perform. The lefty was Detroit’s most valuable player in 2019 by a wide margin, but hitters have been slapping him around mercilessly in 2020.
The beating in tonight’s game began almost instantly. Tim Anderson homered on a hitter’s count. Then, Yoan Moncada homered on a hitter’s count. Neither of the pitches that resulted in runs were particularly competitive either. Fox Sports Detroit’s Jack Morris referred to them as “stiff batting practice.” Mercifully, Yasmani Grandal struck out, but Jose Abreu got in on the action as well, reaching second on a throwing error. Eloy Jimenez struck out, but Edwin Encarnacion walked. The inning — the first inning, remember — finally ended after Boyd struck out Luis Robert, but with a pitch count over 30 and already two runs in the hole, the game wasn’t starting well for the beleaguered southpaw.
But hey, he struck out the side!
The second inning, featuring a single from Schoop and a double from Romine, was also the time slot scheduled for an interview with general manager Al Avila. Here are a few quotes.
- “Isaac Paredes, I guess you could hall him a baseball player.”
- “I have very little patience, that’s why I try to avoid player development”
- “It’s taken a long time to get here”
- “[Paredes] is already down in the count 0-1, but I know he’s a good two strike hitter!”
Boyd still had his strikeout stuff when he wasn’t egregiously missing his spots, and he recorded his fourth and fifth strikeouts in the second inning. Unfortunately, those were followed by another bomb, a squib single, a walk, a mound visit, and a pitch count over 60 before he was able to record the third out.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ offense was struggling to get the ball out of the infield. Victor Reyes beat out a dribbler for a hit and moved over on a Jones grounder. González picked him off at second, ending the inning and undoubtedly irking manager Ron Gardenhire. Boyd finally threw a clean inning in the third, recording another two strikeouts in the process. With a pitch count that quickly ballooned in the first two innings, it was refreshing to see the lefty get out of an inning with only 11 pitches.
At last, the Tigers offense finally came alive in the fourth inning. Cabrera stroked an easy bloop single, which was followed by another single that Schoop hit at 110 mph. Cameron Maybin milked a walk on a 3-1 count, loading the bases. Paredes came to the plate and created the ultimate pressure situation — bases loaded, two outs, down by three runs with a full count. He punched a single into left field, scoring two runs in his first career hit.
Despite the circus that ensued in the first two innings, Boyd managed to compose himself and worked another clean inning in the fourth, including another dose of those sweet, sweet sliders and curveballs. That was the end of his day, however. His command is still less than appealing and he wasn’t destined for a quality start, but his outing was salvageable.
You would think nine strikeouts would feel a little better.
The Tigers drove González out of the game after only 4 2⁄3 innings and 99 pitches, the final straw being a walk drawn by Miguel Cabrera. Gonzalez’s replacement, Steve Cishek, is having a tough season, and he gave up another hard-hit single to Schoop, this one coming off the bat at 109 mph. Candelario was unable to keep the ball rolling and lined out into the shift.
Rony Garcia entered the game in relief of Boyd. Codi Heuer entered the game in relief of Cishek. Neither pitcher gave up a run in their first frame, although Matt Shepard got exceedingly excited when Paredes hit a long foul ball that looked like it could have been a home run off the bat. Unfortunately, Robert and Danny Mendick hit very real home runs off Garcia in the bottom of the sixth, and Chicago extended their lead to three runs.
The seventh and eighth innings was placed under the stewardship of White Sox pitchers Zach Burdi and Evan Marshall, and Tigers pitcher Kyle Funkhouser. The White Sox pitchers did their jobs adequately, as did Funkhouser in his first inning. His second inning was somewhat rough, though. A line drive Encarnacion double that went under review because it was initially unclear whether the ball had struck the outfield wall on the fair side of the foul line. The call stood, however, and Encarnacion’s pinch runner eventually scored when Robert hit a dinger that pushed the White Sox to 7 runs. The ensuing Nomar Mazara single resulted in a pitching change, and Bryan Garcia entered the game.
Truthfully, the game lost its suspense for Tigers fans in the sixth inning, but with a five run deficit in the eighth, it’s difficult to maintain much interest. The White Sox pitched Jose Ruiz in the ninth, and Paredes took his final at-bat, prompting Jack Morris to say “you can almost sense that he has the approach of a hitter.” Paredes flew out, as did Reyes. Jones ended the game with a ground ball to short.
The Tigers lost again, and this game is yet another entry into file away into the sustantial catalog of forgettable games over the last several years. Paredes deserved better in his debut, but that’s just baseball.