Game Two of a four-game weekend set against the Rays in the cozy confines of Ye Olde Trop, after Tampa Bay won the first game on Thursday, saw the Tigers drop another one, 7-4 in 10 innings. Detroit took the lead in the second inning and held it for some time, but the Rays tied up the contest in the ninth and won it convincingly in the tenth.
Starting for the Tigers was Casey Mize; in 27 starts spanning 140 1⁄3 innings coming into tonight, his record stood at 7-8 with a 3.66 ERA, if you’re into traditional stats. If you’re into slightly more advanced stats, his WHIP was a nice 1.140 and his FIP was 4.85, suggesting he’s been a little lucky. If you’re into totally made-up stats, Mize’s BFLORP was a sparkling 0.815 before tonight’s tilt, but with a KWYJIBO of 6.77, that’s a bit of a cause for concern. We’ll keep monitoring stats around here, both real and fake, as the season concludes.
Luis Patino took the mound for the Rays. The 21-year-old, whose fastball reaches into the upper-90s, came to Tampa back in December in the trade that sent Blake Snell to the Padres. His season has been a touch rocky: in 13 starts and 2 relief appearances, he’s gone 4-3 with a 4.62 ERA; in seven starts for Durham in AAA (where he was still six years younger than the average age of players at that level) he was 3-1 with a 3.07 ERA. Patino’s WHIP was 1.368 with a FIP of 4.72, so he hasn’t been either great or particularly unlucky. As for the fake stats... well, as you probably know, famously, neither BFLORP nor KWYJIBO apply to players whose last names start with “P” — hopefully that gets rectified in the off-season.
Akil “Mr. Excitement” Baddoo turned the third pitch around and parked a fastball in the right-field stands to put the Tigers up 1-0.
Akil Baddoo’s homer with Dan Dickerson on the call. pic.twitter.com/zYTYsWsD5i— Rogelio Castillo (@rogcastbaseball) September 17, 2021
The Rays got that run back in the bottom of the inning with a pair of line-drive hits and a sacrifice fly from Austin Meadows. There was plenty of hard contact off Mize early on, with line drives going for both hits and outs.
The Detroiters scored a pair in the top of the second: Hittin’ Harold Castro and Nice Niko Goodrum hit a pair of doubles, scoring Castro. A wild pitch skooched Goodrum up to third, and he was cashed-in by a Victor Reyes groundout to put the Tigers up 3-1.
The Tigers loaded the bases with one out: Robbie Grossman walked, Miguel Cabrera hit a single, and Jeimer Candelario hit a little looper over the infield. Castro hit a fly ball to Randy Arozarena in left field which wasn’t particularly deep; Grossman tagged up and juuuust barely beat a sensational throw from Arozarena to make the score 4-1, where it would stay for a good long while.
Aggressive baserunning, baby!
Mize was lookin’ sharp in the third, with both the slider and the splitter working well and getting strikeouts. Of course, Mize’s day would be a short one, but hey, I’ll take what I can get from him these days.
I don’t often profile a great play made by the other team, but Brett Phillips’ catch to retire an appreciative Akil Baddoo deserves a tip o’ the cap.
Mize’s day was indeed done after three innings: three hits, one earned run, one walk, three strikeouts. Derek Holland, who’s had some solid multi-inning outings in September so far, took over. He stranded a leadoff single in the fourth, and with two outs in the fifth, Ji-Man Choi hit a comebacker off Holland’s tuchus; Holland was fine, but that was going to be the end of his day anyway. Drew Hutchison came on and promptly walked Arozarena and Austin Meadows to load the bases... but then Chris Fetter came out to the mound, put Hutchison in some sort of trance-like state, and then Joey Wendle grounded out to first on the very next pitch.
Chris Fetter, man. Holy heck. How did the Tigers ever luck out and land him?! Amazing.
Hutchison carried on into the sixth, and walked light-hitting Taylor Walls to lead off the inning. He then recovered to get a flyout, a groundout, and a nice Castro catch on a popup to end the inning.
Alex Lange was the next pitcher upon whom AJ Hinch called. Since his recall on August 22, Lange has had a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings, with 6 walks and 13 strikeouts, and opponents are batting .186 against him (with a .533 OPS). How’d he fare this time? Glad you asked: strikeout, error by Goodrum, forceout, infield popout.
The eighth inning brought Kyle Funkhouser: popout, strikeout, flyout. At this point the bullpen had pitched five innings and given up a pair of hits, both by Holland. However... the Rays are masters at scoring runs late in a game, as we will see.
Walls made a great play on a line-drive bullet hit up the middle by Castro in the ninth. I, for one, got pretty sick and tired of the Rays making great plays to take away Tiger hits in this game. Perhaps an angry letter is in order here.
Gregory Soto came on for the save in the ninth inning, and on the third pitch Manuel Margot hit another comebacker that caught Soto on the left (pitching) hand. Trainer Doug Teter came out to look at him, and Soto assured him he was fine, so he stayed in the game — but Francisco Mejia walked to bring the tying run to the plate, and Brandon Lowe singled to center to load the bases with none out.
That’d be the end of Soto’s night, and Michael Fulmer was brought in to face pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz.
On the first pitch from Fulmer, Diaz hit a 2-run single just over the infielders to center to make it a 4-3 game. Still with none out, and runners on first and second... whoops, a wild pitch advanced Lowe, who was on second, to third to put runners on the corners. Lowe was brought home on a sacrifice fly by Arozarena, and that tied the game.
Meadows hit a sky-high — rather, dome-high — pop-up to third which Candelario lost in the roof. It fell in fair territory and took a giant spinny bounce, but luckily Candelario was able to nail Diaz at second, who had to hold up at first on the fly ball. That left a runner on first with two out, but Wendle struck out to send it to the tenth.
Goodrum started the inning on second base, and took third on a one-out ground ball hit by Baddoo. But, Jonathan Schoop struck out to strand Goodrum, and the Tigers failed to score — which is usually fatal in Manfredball.
Bryan Garcia was brought in for the tenth inning, with Wendle on second. Walls walked on four pitches (one of which probably should’ve been a strike), digging the hole even deeper. Phillips launched a 3-1 pitch to the stands in right, an absolute no-doubter, to seal the victory for the Rays.
The third game of the series is scheduled to start at 4:10 pm EDT.
Stats and Observations
- Jonathan Schoop’s been having a tough go of it lately: from July 24 through last night’s game, he was slashing .253/.294/.359 for an OPS of only .652. In his previous 60 games his OPS was a stellar .966. Ouch.
- Searches were inconclusive as to whether the Rays’ starter spells his last name Patino or Patiño. The Tigers’ radio guys pronounced his last name with the little oomph on the “n” that suggested it was the latter.
- This isn’t connected to anything, but I really dig the musician who goes by the name Caribou. It’s not normally my kind of music, but darn it, he knows how to put together a good song.
- Mark Appel published a nice tweet thread today. Definitely worth your time.
- Happy 33rd anniversary to Dan and Lori Anne Dickerson.
- Happy birthday to baseball legend Andrew “Rube” Foster, who was born on this day in 1879. Not only did he pitch for several teams including the Chicago American Giants, he co-founded the Detroit Stars and helped to organize the Negro National League. In 1981, Foster was the first Negro League manager or executive elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. That is one heck of a resume.