Another day, another loss, another embarrassing performance as the defense blew apart a Tarik Skubal start, and the offense stranded a ton of baserunners to get swept by the Twins 7-1 for the Tigers fifth straight loss. They fall to 6-12 on the year, worse than they started in 2021.
The Tigers got it going early on Thursday afternoon, by which we mean in terms of infuriating the fanbase. After two quick outs in the top of the first, Robbie Grossman striped a single to right field. Javy Báez followed with a ground ball deep to third base that Gio Urshela had to eat, and the Tigers were in business, albeit with two outs. And in a 3-2 count, Spencer Torkelson struck out on a foul tip to squander the runners.
But wait, there’s more...much more.
In the second inning, after a brisk frame by Tarik Skubal, the Tigers threatened again. Harold Castro singled, Jonathan Schoop grounded out, and Tucker Barnhart struck out. However, Willi Castro drew a walk in a 3-2 count, and Derek Hill followed suit with a 3-2 walk of his own. The Tigers were making contact, taking close pitches, and they had the bases loaded and Bailey Ober on the ropes. Austin Meadows then lifted a routine fly ball to right to again squander the runners.
When that happens, you know what’s coming next. Skubal gave up a leadoff single to Urshela on a play that a better third baseman makes, and Harold Castro at third then threw the ball away to allow Urshela to take second. Skubal then walked Kyle Garlick, and after he’d bounced back with a pair of swinging strikeouts, Trevor Larnach singled Urshela home to make it 1-0 Twins. Gilbert Celestino followed with a another ground ball single to Castro at third, and Garlick scored to make it 2-0 Twins before Skubal was able to escape the inning.
The Tigers got the leadoff hitter on again in the third via a Robbie Grossman single, but he too was stranded in place. Skubal tore threw the Twins in the bottom half, and finally the Tigers broke through in the fourth.
Jonathan Schoop led off with a single, and after Barnhart and Willi Castro flew out, Ober balked to move Schoop to second with Derek Hill at the plate. Hill lashed a sharp single, and Schoop came around to score. In the process, Ober came out of the game with a groin injury, though the cause wasn’t apparent at the time. Cody Stashak took over and Austin Meadows greeted him with a line drive single to right that moved Hill to third base. Unfortunately, Grossman flew out to end the inning, but hey, a run prior to the late innings. Lots of contact. Just excruciating batted ball luck once again, and no one squaring up a barrel.
Meanwhile, Skubal continued to cruise in the fourth, with a little help from his second baseman. He punched out Ryan Jeffers on three straight pitches for his fourth strikeout to close the inning.
We add this defensive highlight just to remind ourselves that the Tigers can actually play defense on occasion. The video is necessary, because the play was a distant memory an inning later.
The Tigers went pretty quickly in the fifth despite a Harold Castro single, and Skubal finally really got himself into some trouble in the bottom half. Trevor Larnach led off with a single deflected off Skubal to Báez. Celestino then dropped down a bunt and beat it out upon review. Jorge Polanco followed with another bunt, mocking the Tigers infield, and he reached as well to load the bases with no outs. Carlos Correa lashed a double to the wall in left that was then mishandled, this time by Willi Castro, allowing Correa to take third as well, because this team is playing a pathetic brand of defense, and just like that it was 5-1 Twins.
Luis Arraez flew out, but Gio Ushela singled to left to score Correa and make it 6-1. Skubal, presumably losing his mind at the pathetic defensive efforts all around him, walked Kyle Garlick before settling in to induce a double play ball and get out of the inning.
Twins vs. Tarik Skubal in the fifth inning: single, sacrifice bunt, sacrifice bunt.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) April 28, 2022
With the bases loaded and no outs, Carlos Correa cranks a three-run double. 5-1 Twins.
Three errors in the fifth. Four total.
In the top of the sixth, Willi Castro singled with one out, and Derek Hill immediately lined out to Arraez at first, who had no trouble stepping on first for the unassisted double play. Honestly this game was practically a greatest hits of Tigers mistakes and misfortune.
Jacob Barnes came on in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a run. The Tigers went quietly in the seventh, as did the Twins, courtesy of Wily Peralta, who took over from Barnes. The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the eighth. Joe Jiménez pitched the bottom of the eighth, allowing two-out singles to Polanco and Correa. He did get Arraez to fly out to left to escape any damage.
This one was long over, but Tucker Barnhart led off the ninth with a single. Willi Castro flew out and Derek Hill struck out. Austin Meadows drew a walk, and Robbie Grossman singled to right to load the bases. That brought up Báez, who flew out to center field to complete the day’s squander.
Overall the Tigers were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and stranded 12 baserunners in this one. There were four errors. Two on Harold Castro, one on Willi Castro, and one on Tucker Barnhart.
Nothing to say about but woof. It’s hard to blow a season in the first few weeks of play, but the Tigers are on their way to giving it a good try. They are now 6-12 on the year, and have a long flight and a quick turnaround to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. No one wants any excuses. Win the series or come home to a truly disgusted fanbase.