Look, we’re going to see the Royals a whole bunch this season, so I’m not going to drag this out. It was a game. The Tigers played the Royals. Obviously, it was wonderful to see everyone wearing number 42, and a cool thing where the number was Dodger blue for all uniforms.
Tarik Skubal looked good. He was dialed in, mixing his pitches, and really painting the corners of the strike zone. Missed the game? Well here are some good examples of his pitch mix.
Tarik Skubal, 97mph Paint. ️ pic.twitter.com/lXZ20QCYAH— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2022
Tarik Skubal, Dirty 79mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/HO66QzdXbj— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2022
Anyway, I’m not going to recap the first three innings of this game because you can only say “three up, three down” so many ways before it feels repetitive. Just know: both pitchers were dealing.
In the top of the fourth the Tigers got their first baserunner in Austin Meadows, but no runs would score. In the bottom of the inning, meanwhile, the Royals drew first blood. With two outs, Perez singled. Then Benintendi was safe at first on a fielding error from Castro, followed by a Santana single that scored Perez. Because of the Castro error the Perez run was not an earned run for Skubal. It was a drawn-out inning and the Tigers were lucky the Royals only got one run in.
The Tigers put a little pressure on in the top of the fifth. With two outs Torkelson singled, then Barnhart walked. It wasn’t enough to create a run for Detroit but it was nice to see them getting men on the basepaths. In the bottom of the inning Lopez singled into the infield, and Skubal valiantly tried to collect the ball and had to do a bit of a balletic leap to get over the sliding Lopez, who was safe. Thankfully the inning ended with the next batter, no damage done.
Keller continued to own Tigers batters with another 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth. With one out in the bottom of the inning, Baddoo got turned around on a long fly to center, which became a double when he couldn’t quite get under it on time, sending Perez to second. A Benintendi groundout sent Perez to third, and chased Skubal from the game. His final line was 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0 HR on 90 pitches. Just a really, really good outing from Skubal. Hope to see more like it in the future. Barnes came on in relief and faced one batter to end the inning in two pitches.
The top of the seventh turned things around beautifully. With one out, Cabrera doubled (hit 2995, double 599), then with two outs Torkelson hit a two-run bomb to put the Tigers ahead 2-1. The bottom of the inning was a clean 1-2-3 for Barnes.
TORK TALK ️ pic.twitter.com/biz87hp1Ji— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 16, 2022
Not much to say for the top of the eighth except Mondesi absolutely robbed Austin Meadows of a hit with a truly spectacular sliding catch. Jimenez was on for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning and gave up a leadoff single to Lopez, but put the next three down in order. Onward to the ninth!
In the top of the inning the Tigers quietly went down 1-2-3. Then it was Michael Fulmer’s show in the bottom of the inning. Meadows got a sick catch of his own on what looked like a Benintendi single. Gorgeous. And the Schoop got a wicked catch, too, damn. Guess the defense finally woke up in the ninth. Fulmer was able to get by with a little help from his friends and hold on for the win.
Final: Tigers 2, Royals 1