If you’d told us Matthew Boyd and the Tigers pen would hold the Minnesota Twins’ high powered offense to three runs, we would have liked our chances. Unfortunately, the Tigers ran into two outs at home plate that cost them, and they lost 3-2. Their record stands at .500 through the first two series of the season.
Boyd was good in this one, and he was also efficient. Through the first four innings, he blanked the Twins while keeping his pitch count in good enough shape to make it through seven innings. He was helped by the fact that he issued not one free pass, and Boyd also kept the ball in the park, which is quite hard to do against them. He did it by filling up the zone with first pitch strikes and mixing heavy doses of his secondary pitches in to keep them off the fastball. He ultimately racked up eight strikeouts on the day and wasn’t fully responsible for the final two runs he was charged with. We’ll explain momentarily.
In the meantime, the Akil Baddoo show continued its electric run. With one out in the second inning, Jonathan Schoop singled to left. Baddoo followed with a triple to the wall in right-centerfield, and the Tigers led 1-0. On this day, Baddoo got it done with his arm as well. The first play of the third inning was a liner to left off the wall in left field from Andrelton Simmons. Baddoo played the ball perfectly off the wall and fired a strike to second base to nail Simmons trying to stretch it into a double.
The Twins finally managed to manufacture a run in the fifth. Byron Buxton led off with a double, and a ground out and a sacrifice fly moved him around to score and tie things at one apiece.
The Tigers answered right back in the bottom half of the frame. Wilson Ramos hit a screaming liner into the home bullpen off Kenta Maeda to re-open a one run lead.
Unfortunately, the Twins returned serve in the top of the sixth with some help from the Tigers’ defense. Jake Cave led off with a single, but Mitch Garver bounced into a double play and it looked like Boyd had it on lockdown. Unfortunately, a single by Kyle Garlick was followed by a hard ground ball off the bat of Nelson Cruz that Willi Castro couldn’t handle at shortstop. The ball deflected off his glove to Jonathan Schoop, who fired to first and initially got the out, but it was definitively overturned by replay. Mistakes bite you, and so of course Jorge Polanco ripped a double to the wall in left-center, and both runners rambled around to put the Twins up 3-2.
The Tigers made a good effort to come right back in the bottom half of the frame, but ran themselves into two outs at home plate to blow the opportunity. Willi Castro singled to lead off the inning, and Miguel Cabrera followed with a double to the wall in left field. Jake Cave doesn’t have a good arm, but he got the relay into to someone who does; shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Simmons gunned Castro down at the plate in a bang-bang play to keep the score as it was.
Three batters later, they did it again. After Jeimer Candelario walked and Nomar Mazara drilled a screaming one hopper to right fielder Garlick to load the bases, Jonathan Schoop lifted a medium depth fly ball to right-centerfield. Garlick was in perfect position as he made the catch, and third base coach Chip Hale earned his first jeers as he sent Cabrera lumbering home and he was easily thrown out to end the inning. Of the two, the second was the egregious one. Plays like that should all be timed out and the runners speed factored in. Garlick didn’t even have to rush, and it still wasn’t close. Hinch wants them to be aggressive, and we approve, but tag plays from third are the ones you can’t be wrong on.
Boyd cleaned up the seventh with no trouble, and Jose Cisneros struck out the side in the eighth, and then set the Twins down in order in the ninth as well, but the Tigers couldn’t muster another rally.
All in all, a tough loss against a better team, but all the harder because the Tigers largely did it to themselves with a whiffed grounder that led to two runs for the Twins, and then running into two outs at home plate in the sixth inning. Here’s your box score. The Tigers will get back at it on Friday in Cleveland.
Hell of a start for Matthew Boyd:— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) April 7, 2021
7 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 8 K
- 37% CSW
- 19 (!!) 0-1 counts, two 1-0 counts.
- 41% changeup CSW