Eduardo Rodriguez left in the first with an arm injury because all is suffering, and despite a nice day from Spencer Torkelson, the offense was lifeless again. Oh and former Tigers’ prospect Isaac Paredes launched a pair of home runs while the homerless Austin Meadows sat on the injured list with an inner ear infection as the Rays took this one 6-1 to win the series.
So this one started off poorly and got much worse. A one-out single that appeared to bounce off Willi Castro’s leg and then trickled down the third base line was ruled a hit. For a moment it looked like the Tigers were catching a rare break early in a game. Javier Báez struck out, but Jeimer Candelario smacked a solid single to bring up Jonathan Schoop, but the Tigers do not score in the first inning, and so Schoop flailed at a couple pitches and struck out.
From the beginning, Eduardo Rodriguez looked off. His velocity was down in the high 80’s and he didn’t spot a single pitch where he wanted it. Three straight singles greeted him, including one that Harold Castro botched and was probably an error, and E-Rod then walked Randy Arozarena on four straight pitches. At this point, we were informed that Rony Garcia was starting to warm in the bullpen, and that seemed rather hasty despite the ugly performance. A two-run single from Francisco Meija followed before Rodriguez finally got Isaac Paredes to fly out for the first out in the inning. It was already 3-0 at that point. Rodriguez walked Vidal Brujan and signaled to the dugout that he was done.
Yep, another starter down. Reports after the game indicate that this sounds like an oblique injury rather than an arm injury. Here’s hoping. It’d be nice for the team to have a reunion with all the players on the Opening Day roster by say, mid-August.
Eduardo Rodriguez exited today's game with a left side injury, A.J. Hinch said. He’s likely headed to the injured list. #Tigers— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) May 18, 2022
The Tigers turned to Rony Garcia, who did a decent job on short notice. He punched out Taylor Walls and Brett Phillips to escape any further trouble in the first. He then added another pair of strikeouts in the second inning. He struck out two more in the third, although Isaac Paredes did hit a solo shot, and Garcia continues to look like a new man after not impressing at all in his Rule 5 season last year. All tolled, he got eight outs, struck out six, walked one, and allowed just a solo shot on 59 pitches. The pitching staff remains unrelenting in their “next man up” attitude, but hoo boy is that getting put to the test with five of the club’s top six starting options now on the shelf.
We haven’t talked about the Tigers offense yet...because there wasn’t any after getting two men on in the first inning. Tucker Barnhart did single with two outs in the second inning, but it wasn’t until Spencer Torkelson led off the fifth with a double to left that the Tigers managed any kind of threat. Tucker Barnhart followed with an 11 pitch AB that at least took some steam out of Drew Rasmussen’s arm before grounding out to first, advancing Torkelson to third. It didn’t help as Derek Hill struck out and Robbie Grossman flew out to right field.
Jacob Barnes took over from Garcia in the bottom of the fourth and had no issues. Will Vest came on in the fourth and allowed a Harold Ramirez leadoff single, but struck out Randy Arozarena and Ramirez was caught stealing. Vest then punched out Meija to end the frame. Alex Lange tossed a spotless sixth.
Drew Rasmussen’s quite successful outing ended after five innings as Kevin Cash turned to Matt Wisler, who took the Tigers out 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth.
Jonathan Schoop got the seventh inning off to a good start by drawing a walk. However he was immediately erased as Harold grounded into a double play. That was unfortunate, because Spencer Torkelson had the hot hand today. He deposited a Wisler slider 396 feet out into the seats in left center field, and it was 4-1 Rays. A double and a homer feels like the start of something for Mr. Torkelson. We shall see...
Michael Fulmer came out to get some work in the eighth. The Tigers have an off day on Thursday before travelling to Cleveland and then Minnesota, so A.J. Hinch took the opportunity to get all his top relievers a bit of work. Brett Phillips, baseball’s golden retriever, greeted Fulmer with a single. He then stole second base, with Báez whiffing on the tag. Yandy Diaz singled to move Phillips to third, and after Wander Franco flew out, Ji-Man Choi hit a fly ball that probably should be caught, but Grossman couldn’t haul it in as he and Hill converged, and Phillips scored. Derek Hill collected the ball and threw out Diaz trying to go to third, and Arozarena grounded out to end the inning. Fulmer remains mess six weeks into the season, with his velocity and his arm slot both way down. 5-1 Rays.
The Tigers went quickly in the eighth, probably ready to take the flight home. Wily Peralta came on and allowed a second home run to Isaac Paredes, because what’s injury without insult? 6-1 Rays.
J.P. Feyereisen came on to wrap it up and struck out Báez and Candelario, and Schoop popped out to bring this one to an end. The Tigers will have Thursday off to regroup. Then they head to Cleveland for three with the Guardians starting on Friday night.