On a picture-perfect July 4th in Detroit for baseball, the Detroit Tigers won their three-game series with the Chicago White Sox with a 6-5 victory that got a little too close for comfort at the end.
Matt Manning was looking to atone for his last outing which was, shall we say, rocky. Lucas Giolito made, rather improbably, his fourth start against Detroit this year.
In the top of the first, Manning got himself into a bit of trouble with the first two White Sox singling. But, a double play and a flyout ended the threat in rather short order.
The Tigers — or, more accurately, Akil Baddoo — answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Baddoo beat out a grounder for an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on another groundout. Old-timey base-ball, folks.
The top of the second inning may have been the first appearance of the mythical “second breaking ball” by Manning. He’d been the owner of a curveball all along, but the presence of a different breaking ball has been a bit elusive to this point. However... there’s a possibility we may have seen a couple of nice sliders here, including one which induced a groundout.
Matt Manning throwing a slider sitting around 86 mph and a curveball sitting 77 mph today. Location, fastball included, hasn't been too sharp. But the slider looks like it could be an improvement.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) July 4, 2021
The bottom of the second saw more Tiger scoring: Jeimer Candelario singled, Eric Haase doubled, and Daz Cameron walked to load the bases with none out. Hittin’ Harold Castro singled to score Candelario, and after a Zack Short strikeout, Baddoo struck again with a two-run double to drive in a pair, making it 4-0.
One day @AkilBaddoo will make it to second base with his helmet on.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 4, 2021
Today is not that day. pic.twitter.com/MTzVYKEcQO
The White Sox got to Manning in the third, though: four singles and a sacrifice fly made it 4-2 with two outs and runners on the corners. We can start to see the Tigers brass’ desire to limit the young pitchers’ innings here, as we saw with Casey Mize recently as well. Tyler Alexander came on and got a bouncer to first to end the threat.
Adam Eaton made a tip-your-cap play in right field in the bottom of the third: Eric Haase hit a high fly ball; Eaton went back made a great catch against the wall, then threw back in to double-off Candelario at first base.
Eric Haase's 395-foot fly out was the second-longest double play ball at Comerica Park since Statcast began tracking distance in 2015. Anthony Rendon had a 402-foot fly ball that turned into a DP on June 28, 2019.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 4, 2021
Eaton may not be the hitter he once was, but he can still get it done with the glove.
In the fifth, Schoop led off with a single, and Robbie Grossman bunted him over to second. (Look, Grossman was 6-for-51 coming into today; he weighed his options, and a “productive out” was not a bad call.) Schoop advanced to third on a Miguel Cabrera groundout, and Candelario doubled him in. Haase, in turn, drove in Candelario with a double of his own to put the Tigers up 6-2; have a series, Eric!
Alexander’s lockdown relief outing deserves a special mention here: he came on in a tough situation with the tying run at the plate and stranded both runners. Two runners got on in his next inning and he stranded both of them, too. Thankfully his final inning of the day was a lot less eventful.
Kyle Funkhouser came on in the sixth; Jake Burger hit a fly ball to left that evaded Robbie Grossman for a triple with two outs, but he was left on third. After a Jose Abreu single in the seventh, Daniel Norris came on to face the lefty Brian Goodwin, who fouled out to third and end the inning.
Joe Jimenez pitched an uneventful eighth. Nice little run he’s been on lately.
Gregory Soto entered the game in the ninth. His glove was checked by the umpire upon his arrival, and something wasn’t to the umpire’s liking. Since Soto wasn’t ejected from the game, my guess is that it was probably not the right color. Maybe that encounter rattled Soto a bit, as Billy Hamilton and Tim Anderson led off the ninth with singles to put runners on the corners with none out.
After a Danny Mendick strikeout, Jose Abreu put a charge into one for a three-run home run, narrowing the score to 6-5 and inducing much nail-biting. Goodwin then struck out for the second out of the inning, but Leury Garcia walked and Soto was replaced with Jose Cisnero.
Cisnero threw one pitch and got Andrew Vaughn to line out to right to seal the victory.
Sometimes You’re The Windshield, Sometimes You’re The Bug
Miguel Cabrera hit four balls to Tim Anderson today, all for outs.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 4, 2021
If Only They Got Some National Exposure
Dan Dickerson: “The Yankees are going to be on Sunday Night Baseball tonight.”
Jim Price, feigning surprise: “Oh? Is that a fact?”
DD: “I know. Surprising, isn’t it?”
JP: “I’m going to be out tonight, at a barbecue.”
DD: “Could you at least have it on in the background? To let the Yankees think someone’s at least paying attention to them?”
Shade? Thrown. Love it.
Congratulations to NISA Champions, Detroit City FC
✨ @DetroitCityFC @NGSDetroit pic.twitter.com/JvUpVOvvFZ— NISA Official (@NISALeague) July 4, 2021
Notes and Numbers
- In their previous 50 games before today, the Tigers had a 28-22 record.
- Lucas Giolito’s middle name is Frost. I wonder if his parents were into 20th Century American poets or just Martin Short fanatics.
- A hearty congrats to Detroit City FC on their NISA Championship.
- Happy Aphelion Day, everyone! Right around this date in the year (plus-or-minus a day or two) is when the Earth is farthest from the Sun in its orbit, which isn’t quite a perfect circle. “But it’s hot in July, aren’t we closer to the Sun?” Remember, kids, seasons are caused by the tilt of Earth’s axis, not if we’re a touch closer or farther from the Sun. Also, in Australia, it’s cooler now, so there.