The finale of a three-game series in Kansas City against the Royals saw the Tigers complete the sweep with a nail-biting 6-5 win.
Tarik Skubal, who has been night-and-day after ditching the splitter for a changeup, got the nod in this one. Brady Singer, who’s been mediocre this season, started for KC.
The Royals got on the board in the second with a solo home run from Adalberto Mondesi, who’s been on the injured list most of the season. In the next half-inning, the Tigers got the run back with back-to-back doubles by Akil Baddoo and Jeimer Candelario.
The bottom of the third was oh-so-close to being over with no damage: with two outs, Carlos Santana hit a dribbler to third. Harold Castro was going to have to make a solid play to throw Santana out, but he couldn’t come up with the ball. On the next pitch, Salvador Perez blasted changeup for a two-run homer to left to put the Royals up 3-1.
Singer only lasted three innings; Carlos Hernandez started the fourth. Chris McCoskey, who joined Dan Dickerson on the radio broadcast for a couple of innings today, opined that the Royals might be managing Singer’s load already. (Later it was announced Singer was being taken out for “precautionary measures.” The vagueness of this is oddly intriguing, isn’t it?) Given the rash of pitching injuries, possibly exacerbated by the Sticky-Goop-Gate going on these days (see link at bottom), you’re going to want to be as careful as you can be.
Skubal’s pitch count sat at 84 pitches through five innings, so he was looking good for a reasonably long outing despite the warm conditions in Kansas City. He only needed seven pitches for the sixth, too, which would signal the end of his day. The final line, which is fairly typical of Skubal these days: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.
Greg Holland started the seventh for the Royals and promptly walked Goodrum on four pitches. Willi Castro then followed with a two-run home run to center to tie the game at three.
Robbie Grossman singled with one out, Holland called it an afternoon, and Scott Barlow took over. Incidentally, Barlow totally looks like a dude we all went to high school with. Whatever happened to that dude, you might wonder? He’s pitching for the Royals, that’s what he’s doing. Akil Baddoo greeted Barlow with a single, and Grossman scooted over to third; he scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-3 for the Tigers.
Bryan Garcia pitched the seventh, and the first two Royals reached base on some questionable fielding. A groundout left runners at the corners with one out, but a “Big Pelf” off the bat of Salvador Perez got Garcia and the Tigers out of trouble. Garcia deserves a lot of credit for keeping his cool and continuing to get ground ball after ground ball.
In the eighth against new pitcher Jake Brentz, Goodrum hit a single, advanced to third on a single by Willi Castro, and scored on another run on a wild pitch for a little insurance, putting the Tigers up 5-3.
We’ll take it!
“Everyday” Jose Cisnero — seriously, this was the 32nd game he’s appeared in this year — dispatched the Missourians briskly with the sum total of eight pitches in the eighth inning.
A ninth-inning Candelario leadoff walk and a Schoop single preceded a Mazara single, plating Candelario and putting the Tigers up 6-3.
Michael “Angry Mike” Fulmer was back for his second outing this week, after spending a couple of weeks on the shelf. Hanser Alberto led off with a single, and after a couple of outs, the always-annoying Whit Merrifield drove in Alberto. Santana drove in Merrifield with a single, making it 6-5 and bringing Perez to the plate, who had already homered on the afternoon.
The showdown was set: Fulmer vs. Perez, game on the line. What happened? A little “good morning, good afternoon, and good night” three-pitch swinging strikeout.
It was closer than it needed to be today, but at any rate, the sweep was complete. The Tigers move on to a four-game series in Anaheim, Thursday through Sunday — and to say tomorrow night’s game, with the debut of Matt Manning in the offing, is highly-anticipated by the Tigers’ fan base, would be quite the understatement.
Jake “The Sarge” Rogers
I don’t care if that’s not his nickname; that’s what I’m calling him, darn it. Anyway, apparently not everyone’s on-board with his... sense of aesthetics.
I realize Jake Rogers is an elite athlete, but between the mustache and the frumpy uniform he looks more like my neighbor Gary— Brett Yoder (@bretyode) June 16, 2021
Notes and Stats
- Tarik Skubal’s April: 22 IP, 23 H, 14 BB, 18 K. May/June: 38 IP, 36 H, 15 BB, 56 K. Gee, I wonder when he ditched the splitter.
- Tomorrow’s matchup in Anaheim’s gonna be bananas! Manning’s debut, plus Ohtani?! Mark your calendars, people!
- Was Casey Mize’s glove too... uh... grey last night? Jon Erkkila of Motor City Bengals takes a closer look.
- On this date in 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, aboard the Soviet Union’s Vostok 6 spacecraft, orbiting the Earth 48 times. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen one of these 1960s-era “space capsules” in person... roomy, they’re not.