The Tigers were gunning for their seventh straight win tonight, hoping to set themselves up nicely for a big five-game weekend series against the Twins. Alas, a ridiculous number of walks were issued by Tiger pitchers, and a good number of them came around to score, with the Brewers taking the game 8-5.
Spencer Turnbull took the mound on Wednesday evening for the Tigers, and looked to build on his last outing, a solid 5 2⁄3 inning start against the Cubs in which he picked up his third win of the season. Facing Turnbull tonight was Adrian Houser, who’s had a bit of a rough go of it so far: his hits have crept up to 9.5/9IP, and he has walked 11 in 33 innings. He’s been allowing runners on base (1.394 WHIP), so we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.
Victor Reyes picked up exactly where he left off after yesterday’s four-hit game with a leadoff double. A Jonathan Schoop single pushed Reyes to third, and a Jeimer Candelario walk loaded the bases with one out for Willi Castro. Castro squibbled a 15-footer right on the first-base line to drive in Reyes.
Things have just sorta been going that way lately for Tiger hitters, aren’t they? Jorge Bonifacio then roped a ground-rule double to make it 3-0.
Turnbull looked good early, with a disappearing 96-mph sinker way off the plate to strike out Christian Yelich in the first. A crisp 10 pitches got him through the inning, and he got consistent soft contact. Would he go deep tonight and give the bullpen a bit of a breather?
Castro got it done at the plate early, but in the field... hmm... uhhhh....
In 32 career MLB games at SS, Willi Castro is already at -5 defensive runs saved— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) September 3, 2020
Candelario singled to lead off the third, and Castro atoned for his previous-inning error in the second by pushing Candelario to third on a single. Christin Stewart drove in Candelario to make it 4-0.
And then... it began slipping away. After a warning-track flyout to start the inning, Turnbull walked the next two batters, foreshadowing the rest of the evening. Keston Hiura drove them both in on a long home run to center, and all of a sudden it was a 4-3 game. Another long flyout and a walk followed, and you had to wonder if Turnbull was coming unglued on his second trip through the lineup. He righted the ship a bit in the fourth, though, giving up a single with no further damage.
Miguel Cabrera bashed a double to center to lead off the fifth. Coming into tonight’s game, he was 13-for-30 with a double and a home run, for an OPS of 1.052 — so you hope he’s turned a corner, and all those hard-hit balls are starting to fall in. Candelario productive-outed him to third, and Castro poked a single through the right side to score him.
Turnbull’s fifth opened with his fourth walk, and with his pitch count climbing into the 80s, it looked to be another short-ish start for him. A one-out walk to Justin Smoak spelled the end of his day, and brought on John Schreiber to face Avisail Garcia. Schreiber walked Garcia to load the bases, and an Omar Narvaez bloop single just over Schoop’s head tied the game at five, but Luis Arias helped the Tigers out by lining into a 4-3 double play.
It was... a whole new ballgame.
Kyle Funkhouser took over in the sixth, and he promptly walked Orlando Arcia on a very questionable 3-2 pitch. After a strikeout, walk number eight on the night was dutifully issued to Christian Yelich, but with two on and two out, Funkhouser got Hiura to strike out on a full-count, allowing Tigers fans to finally exhale.
Next up in the Parade of Bullpen Arms was Joe Jimenez: a riddle, wrapped in mystery, inside a number 77 jersey. Jimenez walked the ninth man of the night, Justin Smoak, to start the seventh. Jimenez then hit Garcia, just to shake things up a bit. A single by Urias loaded the bases after Narvaez struck out, then...
Bases loaded, one-out, Eric Sogard up. Bryan Garcia got him out in this situation last night. He's warming now. But Jimenez is staying in— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) September 3, 2020
Naturally, then, a Sogard sacrifice fly nudged the Brewers ahead 6-5. Jimenez hit Arcia, and to borrow an old saying, “Tiger pitchers couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if they tried.” Garcia finally came on, this time also with the bases loaded, and mercifully ended the glacial seventh with a soft grounder.
Buck Farmer’s turn was next, and what did he do? Supplied Yelich with his fourth walk of the night, naturally.
By this point, Dan Dickerson had enough:
“This broadcast may not be re-transmitted or details disseminated without written consent of Major League Baseball... I don’t think too many would want to re-transmit or disseminate this one.”
Jace Peterson, just up from the Brewers’ practice squad, mashed a two-run pinch-hit home run to put Milwaukee up 8-5.
Could the Tigers come back in the ninth against Josh Hader, though?
They could not.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Tigers were 1⁄2 game behind Toronto for the second wild card; the Blue Jays held off the Marlins, winning 2-1. The Tigers also started tonight 3 1⁄2 games back of both the Twins and White Sox in the AL Central.
Wait, Maybe Hold Off on the Robot Umps
Pitch No. 4 against Castro in the fifth, ball. Two pitches later he hit an RBI single. So, y’know, maybe not now.
No No No, Robot Umps Please!
Pitch No. 5, a called strike three on Isaac Paredes in the sixth. Horsefeathers, I say.
We at BYB would like to take a moment to observe the passing of three-time Cy Young Award winner Tom Seaver. He had been suffering from both dementia and Lyme disease in recent years, but it still doesn’t cushion the blow. Seaver’s best stretch was probably 1969-75 seasons were probably his best, with a 136-71 record and a 2.46 ERA for the Mets.
Numbers and Observances
- Coming into tonight’s game, Spencer Turnbull led the American League in walks with 18.
- From August 21 through September 1, Victor Reyes has had a slash line of .356/.370/.622 for an OPS of .992.
- This was the ninth time in Tiger history that they’d walked 10 or more batters and also hit two or more batters.
- Celebrity birthdays today include actor Salma Hayek, former MLB Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, and thirteenth-century Italian theologian Francesco da Fabriano. Buon compleanno, Francesco!
- Vin Scully joined Twitter. Old Hoss Radbourn’s thoughts:
Why would Vin Scully join this pit— Old Hoss Homebound (@OldHossRadbourn) September 2, 2020
Can’t really blame the Dapper Gent there.