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Tigers 5, Mariners 3: Just enough pitching, just enough defense

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Matthew Boyd was good enough, Eric Haase hit another home run, and the Tigers got off on the right foot against Seattle.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers returned home for the first game of a six-game home stand, winning the first of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners, 5-3. After having the day off Monday, the start of tonight’s game was delayed due to rain storms, with hail in some places, in the Detroit area.

Matthew Boyd started for the Tigers tonight, and there was some speculation in the preview that “Bad Boyd” was back. I thought I’d investigate this a little more, so I looked up the OPS that Boyd has allowed in each of the first three months of the last three complete seasons, taking 2020 out for obvious reasons.

Matthew Boyd: OPS Against by Month

Season Apr May Jun
Season Apr May Jun
2018 0.593 0.56 0.821
2019 0.568 0.661 0.900
2021 0.540 0.757 ????

Boyd’s last start, on June 1 in Milwaukee, was pretty rough: he didn’t get out of the fifth inning. Then again, he has a lifetime .694 OPS against Seattle. So, would the real Matthew Boyd please stand up?

After a rather uneventful top of the first, Robbie Grossman led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left off Mariners starter Marco Gonzales. Miguel Cabera hit a hanging curveball to right for a single, scoring Grossman. Eric Haase then hit his sixth home run in his last 18 at-bats:

That was his eighth of the year. What a find this guy’s been.

A double by Shed Long, Jr. (on which Akil Baddoo took a weird route), a passed ball and a Jonathan Schoop error made it 3-1. By this point it was clear that Boyd’s command wasn’t what it should be, and his pitch count climbed against a rather feeble, lefty-filled lineup; no disrespect, Seattle, but Murderer’s Row you ain’t. Baddoo made a sensational running catch to atone for his earlier miscue to end the inning.

Niko Goodrum led off the second with a single, took second on a 401-foot flyout by Baddoo, stole third, and Derek Hill singled to drive in Goodrum, his first major-league RBI. Hill caught the Mariners napping, making it into second on a bit of a bobble...

...and then he TOOTBLAN’d himself into getting picked off. You can’t have it all. (As Stephen Wright once rhetorically asked, “Where would you put it?”)

And then, of course, Hill made a couple of tremendous catches in centre, making it look easy.

The Mariners had a TOOTBLAN of their own: with one out and Ty France on first, Tom Murphy lined out to Isaac Paredes at third base. Paredes zipped a throw over to Cabera at first before France got back for an inning-ending double play.

The fireballing Yacksel Ríos took over for Gonzales in the fifth, who was on a pitch count. Hill greeted Rios with a single, stole second (his third steal in four games), and scored easily on a Schoop single, making it 5-1. In a scary moment, Cabrera got hit on the wrist, but he assured AJ Hinch and trainer Doug Teter he was alright. Haase hit a single to right to load the bases with one out. Alas, Willi Castro and Paredes popped out to infielders to end the threat.

Boyd, meanwhile, settled-in as the game progressed. In the end he did quite alright, thanks — especially for a June start.

Kyle Funkhouser started the seventh, aiming to carry on from his previous excellent outing in Chicago: a walk got erased on a double play, and that was that for the inning. We like ‘em uneventful like that around here.

Joe Jiménez came in for the eighth, and let’s just say it went a little differently: hit batter, walk, check-swing infield single, showers. Really, how much more can the Tigers take from him? My guess is that, if you’re reading this and you have a pulse, you have an opinion about that.

Daniel Norris was handed a bases-loaded, none-out jam, and a ground ball got the Tigers two outs but cost them a run. A Taylor Trammell double drove in another run, making it 5-3, but Norris struck out Jack Mayfield to end the inning.

“Everyday José” Cisnero was called upon to pitch the ninth. He walked the leadoff batter, but then he struck out J.P. Crawford and the dangerous Mitch Haniger, and got France to line out to Hill in centre.

Game #2 of the series is scheduled to start at 7:10 pm EDT on Wednesday.

Yet Another Cabrera Milestone

Congrats, big guy!

Notes and Stats

  • Isaac Paredes, who was recalled from Toledo after Jeimer Candelario was placed on the bereavement list, had a .220/.278/.290 slash line in 38 games last season for a .568 OPS. In 28 games for Toledo this year, his slash line has been .269/.352/.380 for an OPS of .732.
  • Taylor Trammell, on the Mariners, (a.) is likely no relation to Alan, and (b.) pronounces his last name truh-MELL.
  • On this date in 1953, a deadly tornado hit Beecher, Michigan (just north of Flint). So, today definitely has a history of severe weather in southeast Michigan.
  • In slightly happier “this date in history” news, Joan Rivers was born on this date in 1933. A truly hilarious woman.
  • In much, much happier news, the Yankees lost 11 of their previous 14 games coming into tonight’s game against Minnesota.