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Tigers 8, Cardinals 2: Home Sweet Home

Tarik Skubal’s night was short and a little shaky, but the bats more than made up for it.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

After a road trip to Kansas City and Anaheim in which the Tigers went 4-3, the Bless You Boys welcomed their 2006 World Series opponents, the St. Louis Cardinals, to town. In the opener of a short, two-game series, the Tigers beat the Cardinals 8-2.

Tarik Skubal’s previous outing was the series-sweeping game against the Royals, in which he went six innings, scattering six hits and giving up three runs. He walked a pair and struck out seven, which is becoming a pretty standard sort of outing for the youngster this year. Here he is, getting checked-out by “Country” Joe West for Spider Gum, Dapper Dan pomade, or Flubber or whatever the blazes they say pitchers use these days.

Johan Oviedo, a 23-year-old Cuban, started for the Cardinals. Coming into tonight’s game, Oviedo’s season so far featured seven starts (and a relief appearance), with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.387 WHIP. In 35 13 innings he’d walked 18 and struck out 29. So, y’know, “work in progress.”

Bit of hard contact by the Cardinals in the first: a Paul Goldschmidt flyout to center went a long way, and Nolan Arenado’s liner to third certainly got Jeimer Candelario’s attention. In the second, Skubal walked Paul Dejong and one of those Molina brothers, but a Lars Nootbaar (more on him below) groundout ended the threat. But, he’d thrown 46 pitches through two innings, and he’d thrown 66 pitches after three.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Akil Baddoo led off with a sharp single to right. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, and he broke for third on a Nomar Mazara tapper back to the mound. All Oviedo had to do was gently toss the ball to Arenado at third... but he zinged a fastball right past Arenado and down the left-field line. When the dust settled Baddoo had scored, Mazara ended up on third, and the Tigers were up 1-0.

All of this excitement seemed to rattle Oviedo, as he then walked a pair of Castros to load the bases with one out. On an 0-2 pitch, Jake “The Sarge” Rogers clubbed a slider to left for a double, scoring two, making it 3-0. Robbie Grossman then watched a high-and-outside pitch get called for strike three, but Jonathan Schoop continued his white-hot hitting with a 14th home run to make it 6-0.

Skubal was perhaps a little rusty after the 10-batter fourth the Tigers had, as he hit Edmundo Sosa leading off the fifth. Three singles and two runs later, Skubal’s night was done, and Kyle Funkhouser took over and stanched the bleeding.

Baddoo led off the fifth with a double, and then the pitcher who’d taken over for Oviedo, Daniel Ponce de Leon, was removed due to an injury. Andrew Miller took over, Baddoo advanced to third on a Mazara flyout, and Harold Castro’s safety squeeze scored him. Rogers’ second triple of the year scored Willi Castro, who’d walked.

Someone in the GameThread asked if Jim Price, by that point, had mentioned “catcher speed” yet. Unfortunately, he had not.

Bryan Garcia pitched the seventh for the Tigers; a walk did no damage. Buck Farmer pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.

*rubs eyes*

Wait, really? He did? Well, ain’t that something.

Daniel Norris closed it out in the ninth. He gave up a single to Tommy Edman, but that was it.

Tomorrow afternoon features the home debut of hot prospect Matt Manning. That’s gonna be a fun one.

What the Sam Hill is this?

Old Hoss is preemptively angry. I love it.

Whatever it is, it’s tomorrow.

Notes and Numbers

  • The delightfully-named Lars Nootbaar (NEWT-bar) made his major-league debut for the Cardinals tonight. He’d been tearing it up in AAA this season, hitting .329 with a .987 OPS.
  • Akil Baddoo batted fifth in the lineup tonight, for the second straight game. In his nine previous games comin into tonight, he was 11-for-27 with three doubles and a 1.019 OPS.
  • I’m told that the Pistons won a lottery of some sort tonight. Congrats! Hope they don’t spend it all in one place.
  • On this date in 1633, a branch of the Catholic Church forced Galileo to take back all that nonsense that he said about the Earth not being in the centre of the universe. All those fools who believed everything went around the Sun were vanquished that day, and thankfully, ever since, things like “data” and “science” and “evidence” have been largely ignored. Scroll down and add your comment below on your magic reading typewriter if you like.