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Tigers 8, Red Sox 1: A Motown Hit Parade

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Victor Reyes had two triples and the pitching was marvelous.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After a night where the Tigers couldn’t seem to get started and struck out a ton against the Boston ball club, the afternoon rubber match of the three-game mid-week series in Detroit saw the Tigers take revenge, claiming the series with an 8-1 win, banging out 13 hits in the process.

Martín Pérez took the hill for the Red Stockings; Pérez is in his second year with Boston after a year in Minnesota and seven in Texas. Coming into today’s game, his last couple of months have been a little rough, frequently getting knocked out of a game early while also having a propensity for giving up the ol’ long-ball. (Both of those would come into play today.)

Tarik Skubal has had a similar issue with home runs lately; his previous two starts each featured a trio of dingers, against the Royals on July 25th and the Orioles on the 30th. He’s turned that unfortunate trick four times so far this year — twice in April as well — but if you’re a glass-half-full kind of person like I am, consider this: when he did it in April, those both resulted in blowout losses for Detroit. For the July occurrences, though, the games were much closer (6-1 and 4-3 losses).

Am I reaching a bit? Yeah, probably. But, like I said, I’m an optimistic guy.

Robbie Grossman got things started in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run.

Unlike two starts ago in Kansas City wherein Skubal saw the first four batters he faced score, this time he set down three dangerous Red-Legged Fellows fairly easily in the first, including a pair of strikeouts. He got into a bit of trouble with a pair of singles in the second, but a strikeout of Bobby Dalbec ended the frame.

Victor Reyes hit a rocket to the wall in left-centre for a triple to lead off the bottom of the second, and Zack Short drove him in with a deep sac fly to centre, making it 2-0 for Detroit. (Nice to see Short making more contact these days.) Willi Castro and Derek Hill kept the line moving with successive singles, Hill taking second on a throw to third, putting two runners in scoring position with one out. Grossman got plunked to load the bases, and that’d be the end of the day for Pérez, getting knocked out after only 1 13 innings.

Phillips Valdez was summoned from the bullpen, and Jonathan Schoop hit a dribbler back to the pitcher. It was pretty clear Valdez wasn’t going to get Castro at home, and it was a tricky play to even get Schoop at first for an out; any way you slice it, it was 3-0 for Detroit at that point.

After running the bases (and obviously being in pain), Grossman left the game with a “left elbow contusion,” and Akil Baddoo was inserted into the game.

Skubal’s third was a little dicier; a one-out single and walk, and an errant pickoff throw to second, put runners on second and third with one out. Skubal got J.D. Martinez to strike out looking, but up next was the also-dangerous Xander Bogaerts. He gave a 2-2 knuckle-curve a ride to deep centre, but Hill ran it down and the Bay Staters stayed off the board.

Speaking of Hill running things down, BSD interviewed Orsino Hill, Derek’s dad. Orsino said, “We have a saying, ‘Nothing falls in the outfield but raindrops.’” I like it.

In the top of the fifth, the Beaneaters got a leadoff single from Marwin Gonzalez, who advanced to second on a long flyout. Skubal got Rafael Devers and Martinez to fly out, keeping it at 3-0.

The Tiger bats turned around in the bottom of the inning, with a one-out single by Schoop. Cabrera walked, then Jeimer Candelario hit a ground-rule double to centre, scoring Schoop. Reyes tripled again, this time from the other side of the plate, scoring Cabrera and Candelario, adding to the lead; it was 6-0 at that point.

Kyle Funkhouser came on for the sixth and got the Bostons out, 1-2-3.

Baddoo led off the sixth with a hit to the outfield; Hunter Renfroe and Kiké Hernandez had a little tête-à-tête to try to figure out who’d pick up the ball, and in the meantime Baddoo raced over to second.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you’ve gotta love the aggressive baserunning we’ve seen from the Tigers this year. Schoop singled to centre, driving in Baddoo, pushing the score to 7-0.

Ian Krol came on for the seventh, and he gave up a single which did no damage; today made six straight scoreless appearances for Krol, whose ERA is now 2.45. Now that’s interesting. Small sample size, but still nice, y’know? Also, this:

The Tigers added-on in the seventh: Eric Haase led off with a single, and took third on a Candelario single. Reyes struck again, but not with a triple, merely a humble fielder’s choice ground ball, to score Haase and push the lead to 8-0.

“The Amazing Erasmo” Ramírez allowed a run in the eighth: Franchy Cordero singled, and eventually scored on an Alex Verdugo sacrifice fly to spoil the shutout. He stayed on to pitch the ninth, giving up a single but no further damage.

This was a really satisfying series for the Tigers. Sure, Les Chaussettes Rouges were coming off being swept by the Rays, but to win two out of three against a team who’s a game out of first in the American League East, who are averaging 4.92 runs per game and have the third-best OPS in the American League, that’s pretty great no matter what way you slice it.

In conclusion, it’s silly to name teams after articles of clothing.

Victor Reyes Had a Day

If you had Dmitri Young on your bingo card as the last person in the major leagues to triple from both sides of the plate, then you really need to buy a lottery ticket today, pronto.

Notes and Numbers

  • Miguel Cabrera’s OPS by month: .531 (April), .548 (May), .850 (June), .753 (July), 1.083 (August, and yeah, I know, it’s only three games in the month coming into today).
  • Some more Miggy OPS splits: .924 in Tiger wins, .178 in losses; .746 as a first baseman, .659 as a DH; .784 in night games, .569 in day games.
  • Bobby Dalbec made an unusual move in the field today: he started at first base, then after the game was clearly out of reach, he moved to shortstop. You really don’t see that often, do you?
  • Craig Monroe will be joining Dan Dickerson on the radio broadcast for the next road trip. Jim Price will be back when the Tigers return.
  • J.R. Richard passed away yesterday, at the age of 71. Richard’s career was cut short with a stroke at age 30; he later had troubles with addiction but overcame them and became a prominent member of the Houston community. Johnny Bench and Dale Murphy both named him as the toughest pitcher they ever faced. Dan Petry described his slider as the best he ever saw.
  • Have you seen the sport climbing event at the Olympics? I’ve never done it in my life and I thought it was a little silly to put it in the Games, but I’ve been watching it and it is very, very compelling. It’s like 3-D geometrical problem solving and your opponent is gravity. And, my goodness, the strength they need to have in their fingers is totally bananas.
  • On this date in 1877, Tom Thomson was born. I’m not sure how much attention the Group of Seven artists gets outside Canada, but if you’re into landscapes of forests and rocks and lakes, check ‘em out. (Thomson had a hand in founding the Group, even though he drowned in a canoeing accident before it really got off the ground.)