There was a baseball game played in Cleveland tonight, and the Detroit Tigers did not win it. A rough night to say the least, the Indians broke out for a 11-3 victory thanks to five mammoth home runs. Meanwhile, the bats of the Tigers can’t seem to figure out how to turn the parking break off. During their current three game losing streak, the Tigers have scored no more than three runs.
Tarik Skubal made his second start of the season and didn’t have the positive results that he earned last Sunday. Skubal only got through four innings today, but allowed six runs on four home runs, three walks, and only three strikeouts. What’s more concerning is that the spin rate on his fastball is down nearly 250 rotations-per-minute from 2020, an issue that pitching coach Chris Fetter is most certainly aware of and will be tasked with solving. While his average fastball velocity is down from about 94 MPH to 93 MPH, the spin rate plays a larger role in ultimately making it a swing-and-miss pitch.
Cleveland got most of their offense via the long ball. In the second inning, Skubal gave up a 430 foot two-run homer to Roberto Perez to get the scoring started. In the third, Cesar Hernandez’s solo blast extended the lead to three. In the fourth, Skubal’s final frame, Jordan Luplow got his second hit — and second home run — of the season, a 432-footer to put Cleveland up 6-0. The Indians also got home runs from Franmil Reyes and Andrés Giminez in the later innings.
Adam Civale started for the Indians and had a rather efficient night dispatching the Tigers. Civale’s only blemish came in the seventh inning when Robbie Grossman tagged him for a solo shot, Grossman’s first home run of the year. He only needed 90 pitches to get through seven and two-thirds innings, striking out six and allowing only three hits. The bats kinda-sorta got something in the ninth inning against Cleveland’s Rule-5 pick Trevor Stephan when Jeimer Candelario clubbed his first homer of the season, but by then the game was already way out of reach.
On a night where the Tigers only tallied five total hits, Grossman had three of them. The pitchers combining to allow 11 runs is clearly a problem, but the offense continues to not even give the team a chance. No one in the lineup is consistently hitting, and that’s only going to put more pressure on the staff to not give the opponent an inch. Everyone, one through nine, needs to pick it up or else this season could unravel fast regardless of what the pitchers do.
Taking live results into account, the Tigers are currently 28th in baseball in runs scored. The only two teams behind them are the Mets and Nationals, who had their opening series postponed due to COVID— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 10, 2021
If there’s a silver lining to take from this game, it’s that newly recalled Alex Lange made his major league debut and had the only one-two-three inning of the night for Detroit. Lange flashed a devastating hard curveball, a pitch he used to earn the first strikeout of his career against Reyes to end his only inning of work.
Other than that, there isn’t much to report. We’re only eight games into the season, and it’s already feeling a lot like... every Tigers season since 2017.