Ichiro Suzuki once mentioned his favourite English expression involved the description of how hot day games in Kansas City are. (There’s some bleeped NSFW language in that clip.) Well, today in KC was one of those days, and the Tigers certainly felt the heat as they were defeated 6-1, and thus swept by the Royals in the three-game weekend series.
The starting pitching matchup was Tarik Skubal for the Tigers and Daniel Lynch for the Royals; two young, highly-touted lefties. Lynch had three starts back in May that didn’t go very well, but today would be a different story.
The Royals wasted no time getting on the board in the first, with a pair of singles preceding a three-run home run by Salvador Perez. Jorge Soler followed with a solo shot of his own, and it was 4-0 before you were able to finish pouring your first beverage of the afternoon. Skubal then settled down and retired the next three batters, and had a 1-2-3 second.
In the fourth, Soler struck again with another solo home run, widening the gap to 5-0. By this point in the game, Skubal was just reaching back and just givin’ ’er with his fastball, touching 99 mph. Dan Petry on the radio broadcast observed that Skubal’s arm was noticeably slower on the curveball, so that might be something he wants to work on.
Skubal was done after five, and his outing was... strange. The first four batters he faced scored, Soler hit his second home run, and no other runner reached base. His final line: 5 innings, 5 hits, 5 runs, no walks, 4 strikeouts, and 3 home runs surrendered. When he wasn’t giving up home runs, he was as smooth as a well-kneaded lump of bread dough. (I’ve been baking more lately.) Anyway, doesn’t speak well of the early game plan and execution in terms of command.
There was also a lengthy discussion between innings at one point between AJ Hinch, Skubal, and the home plate umpire, regarding use of the rosin bag on a sweltering day where grip was an issue.
In the top of the sixth, the Tigers got their first two runners on via a pair of singles from Derek Hill and Akil Baddoo. Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play, with Hill taking third. Eric Haase struck out, and that was that.
Erasmo Ramirez took over in the sixth. Unlike his predecessor, he limited Soler to a single; the inning was otherwise rather uneventful.
The Royals padded their lead in the seventh against Derek Holland, when Jarrod Dyson singled to Hill in shallow centre, and Michael A. Taylor took advantage of a lazy throw back to the infield to score from second, making it 6-0.
Lynch, meanwhile, threw eight shutout innings, didn’t walk anyone, and scattered five hits. There wasn’t much hard contact, save for a couple of long fly balls. That one goes in his diary, for sure.
Ian Krol’s Sunday went a lot better than his Saturday: flyout, strikeout, strikeout. All three of those batters were righties, too. Also, how about that, Krol’s ERA is now down to 3.86.
Lynch gave way to Ervin Santana in the ninth, and the Tigers finally got off the schneid: Schoop doubled to lead off the inning, and Haase singled to centre to drive him in.
Haase was pushed up to second by a Miguel Cabrera single, Santana was told to take a hike, Jake Brentz was given the ball, and after a strikeout, Robbie Grossman grounded into a double play to end the festivities.
In conclusion, as my colleague Brady noted today: the Tigers probably aren’t as good as they were when they swept Texas. They probably aren’t as bad as they were this weekend when they got swept. The truth, as it often tends to be, is somewhere in between.
Injury Rehab Update
Michael Fulmer threw a 9-pitch rehab inning for @MudHens at Indianapolis. He threw fastballs up and out of zone with first 5 pitches, then threw strikes with next 4, K'ing Anthony Alford with 90 mph slider before getting double play grounder.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 25, 2021
Can You Make an Argument Here?
Of course you can. Making arguments is what baseball fans do!
Not making any argument here; just noting an odd fact. Zack Greinke has 162 career decisions in the American League, 184 in the National. He is 10 games over .500 in the American League (86-76), but 78 games over .500 in the National (131-53).— Bill James Online (@billjamesonline) July 25, 2021
Notes and Stats
- From May 11 through yesterday’s game, Jonathan Schoop was batting .335 with an OPS of .943. After the end of the May 10 game, his batting average was .180.
- In his career, at various times, Schoop has worn the uniform numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8 (not in that order chronologically, of course).
- The base coaches for the Royals these days are two ex-Tigers, Rusty Kuntz at first and Vance Wilson at third.
- One of the bumper music songs used by the radio broadcast, to the best of my Name That Tune ability, was Gwar’s cover of “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas. If that sounds like an odd mix of styles, well, it is. Thankfully, Gwar has never taken themselves terribly seriously.
- Happy 66th birthday to Somali-American supermodel and entrepreneur (entrepreneuse?) Iman.