After winning or splitting five straight series, the Tigers' stretch of good play came to an abrupt end with a sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Twins. It was another rough loss that came after a great effort from the starting pitcher, with Wily Peralta being the victim of Sunday’s bullpen meltdown. With the 12-9 loss, the Tigers will head into the All-Star break with a 40-51 record sitting in third place of the AL Central Division.
Wily Peralta has been quite the story in his last two starts for the Tigers. After not starting a game since 2017, Peralta has started five out of his six outings and pitched to the tune of a 2.08 ERA since his call-up to Detroit. The hitters for the Twins put together some quality at-bats against him. driving up his pitch count, but he was still able to get through five innings of one-run ball. His only blemish came in the fifth inning off a solo home run from Max Kepler.
Peralta did not pitch at all in 2020 and was a fringe major leaguer for a couple seasons before that. Give Al Avila some credit for signing him, but I don’t think even he had Peralta’s resurgence on his 2021 Bingo card. Perhaps another product of Detroit’s pitcher whisperer, Chris Fetter?
The Tigers did some of their damage in the fifth inning, and amazingly enough, all their runs came with two outs. A Harold Castro single followed by back-to-back walks to Zack Short and Jake Rogers brought Akil Baddoo to the plate with a chance to break the scoreless tie. Baddoo quickly went down 0-2 before slapping a single to left field to score two runs. Jonathan Schoop with a bloop-single — or should I say a “Twins Hit” — to right to plate two more and give the Tigers a 4-0 lead at the time.
The Twins kept chipping away at the lead, and went ahead in the bottom of the seventh, 6-4, with the Tigers needing three pitchers to get out of the inning (Daniel Norris, Joe Jimenez and, in a rare bad outing, Gregory Soto).
Akil Baddoo led off the eighth with a no-doubt shot to right field to pull the Tigers back within one, but the Twins would get two more runs right back in the bottom half of the inning off of Buck Farmer.
However, the big whip-saw moment happened in the top of the ninth inning. With the Twins up 8-5, the Tigers loaded the bases, and then Jake Rogers smacked a first-pitch grand slam to put the Tigers up 9-8. All was well with the world... except, as it turns out, Derek Holland came back out to pitch the bottom of the ninth, and the Twins tied the game at nine with a solo home run by backup catcher Ben Rortvedt, because apparently, we can’t have nice things.
In the Manfredball tenth inning, the Tigers failed to score in the top half, and Holland was inexplicably still pitching. Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked, and after a popout, Jorge Polanco hit a three-run home run to win the game, and finish off the series sweep.
This was just an incredibly frustrating series to watch. Multiple chances to finish off innings went through the Tigers’ fingers, and oodles of runners were left on base. It really leaves a bad taste in your mouth going into the All-Star Break.
Enjoy the rest of the draft, I guess?