Fall is upon us. The days are cooler, the sunsets arrive earlier, and the kids are (sort-of) back in school — and, miraculously, the Tigers started the day two games out of a playoff spot. Tonight they inched closer to postseason play by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 8-3.
The elegant Detroit Athletic Club wasn’t wearing a halo, but with the mist in the air in the city tonight, it sure looked like it.
Can’t see top of Renaissance Center tonight from Comerica Park with all the cloud cover, but the glow around the light-up band is borderline eerie. pic.twitter.com/KwcF2voytT— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 9, 2020
Spencer Turnbull started off rather inauspiciously, giving up a leadoff double to Ben Gamel on an 0-2 fastball. He then settled down and, benefitting from Austin Romine throwing out Christian Yelich stealing, got out of the inning unscathed and cruised through the second.
Adrian Houser last saw the Tigers on September 2 — his last outing — turning in five innings and giving up five runs on nine hits, striking out only two. He started tonight by retiring the first eight hitters, surpassing his last game’s strikeout total by the second inning.
Turnbull’s walks have been a big, big problem this year. His last outing started off well enough, but then he was nominated Grand Marshall of the Walk Parade and set the tone for the rest of the staff, ultimately dooming the Tigers. He had two through three; would this be a problem again tonight?
The Tigers turned a rare, nifty 1-5-3 double play in the third. That’s something you don’t see every day.
Sergio Alcantara crushed a triple to right with two out in the third for the Tigers’ first hit of the night and the second of his major-league career.
I wonder if his first four major-league hits could be the reverse natural cycle (home run, triple, double, single). Has that ever been done?
Jonathan Schoop got hit in the right hand at the wrist as he led off the bottom of the fourth. He had to come out of the game, and as we learned later, it was called a “contusion.”
Jonathan Schoop left tonight's game with a right wrist contusion and is currently undergoing further evaluation.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) September 9, 2020
Later in the inning, Willi Castro muscled an inside fastball to right to drive in Miguel Cabrera and put the Tigers up 1-0:
Dan Dickerson brought up a very interesting point regarding all the highly-regarded rookies and other assorted youngsters seeing action this year for the Tigers. In 1981, the Tigers also had a lot of young talent seeing major-league action in an unusual year which was split into halves of approximately 55 games each. We all know what happened three years later, of course. Food for thought.
The Tigers got the first two on base in the bottom of the fifth, with Christin Stewart drawing a walk and Romine singling him to third. Victor Reyes poked a single to left to score Stewart, chasing Houser and bringing on Brent Suter (no, not the hockey player). Jeimer Candelario singled to bring in Romine and Reyes, making it 4-0 for Detroit; Castro then dribbled an infield single to load the bases. Jorge Bonifacio singled, scoring Cabrera and Candelario to make it 6-0.
Meanwhile, Turnbull had one of his best starts of the season:
That’s exactly the kind of solid start the Tigers need out of Turnbull if they have any hope of squeezing into the playoffs. It was pretty comparable to his August 25 start against the White Sox (5 2/3 innings, three hits, no runs, three walks, five whiffs).
Gregory Soto came on for the seventh, and the first two batters hit singles. I admit, I was wondering which Soto was on the mound tonight for a minute. He then struck out Daniel Vogelbach and Avisail Garcia on nasty sliders, and Orlando Arcia on a 98-mph sinker in the dirt, and I got my answer.
In the seventh, Cabrera led off with a walk and Candelario blasted a no-doubter to right to to make it 8-0, and the rout was on.
Buck Farmer’s eighth inning featured two pop-outs and a flyout. Jose Cisnero gave up some bloops and flares in the ninth and was just “getting a little work in,” as they say, but ultimately was charged with three runs and left with two outs. Bryan Garcia came on to walk the bases loaded, but got a foul pop-up to third to end the game with the tying run on deck.
The Word You’re Looking For is ‘Schadenfreude’
With their loss to Toronto tonight, the New York Yankees have lost five in a row and 15 of their last 20 games, and dropped to 21-21 on the season. The Tigers are not just one game back, and a half game back of the Baltimore Orioles who also won on Tuesday night.
Tonight’s Umpire-Highlights of the Night
Two called strikes: left, to Cabrera; right, to Castro. I’ll just leave this here.
- Of the first 100 left-handed batters Spencer Turnbull faced this year, he walked 17 of them. Not great, Bob!
- Before his flyout in the fourth, Christian Yelich had walked in his previous five plate appearances against Tiger pitching.
- Miguel Cabrera’s first name is actually Jose.
- Happy birthday to musician Aimee Mann. I can definitely recommend listening to her side project with Ted Leo, called The Both.