Beau Brieske gave the Tigers every opportunity to win on Saturday in the Bronx, but another ghastly performance by the offense betrayed him as the Yankees took the second game of the series 3-0.
As we’ve seen in his seven major league starts prior to Saturday’s outing in New York, Beau Brieske has an odd predilection for giving up a home run to the first batter he faces, often on the first pitch. Hard to explain that one, but it happened again in this one. The very first pitch he threw was clubbed for a solo shot to right center field by Aaron Judge. This time it was a fastball rather than the slider.
After than auspicious start, it was understandable if the dread of another absolute shellacking crept into fans’ minds. However, Brieske showed outstanding composure and improvements in his slider both, and settled in from there to pitch a really good game.
After the Judge homer, Josh Donaldson grounded out, and Anthony Rizzo lined out to Derek Hill in center field. Giancarlo Stanton then made a big for a line drive homer to straightaway center field. Hill raced back and leapt up the wall, momentarily hauling the drive into his glove before slamming into the wall, which then dislodged the ball back into the field of play for a double. Gleyber Torres flew out to right field to end the inning.
Starting with Torres, Brieske would go on to retire nine in a row. He struck out Joey Gallo in the second, whiffed Donaldson on a nasty 96 mph heater up and in to end the third inning, and then punched out Stanton on a whiff at a fourseamer with one out in the fourth. Brieske walked Torres next, but got Gallo again with a fastball away in the zone. Same story in the fifth as the Tigers rookie starter punched out Isaiah Kiner-Falefa to start the inning and quickly retired Kyle Higashioka and Aaron Hicks. Brieske’s pitch count was still in good shape, and he’d given his club every opportunity to get in the game.
They did not get into the game.
A second inning leadoff single by Miguel Cabrera would be the only knock the Tigers would record on the day. Luis Severino is a really good starting pitcher, but the Tigers turned him into Gerrit Cole 2.0 in this one as the big right-hander racked up 10 strikeouts to just a single and a walk allowed. Javier Báez continued to look like a complete lemon of a purchase, striking out swinging in all three putrid at-bats on the day.
Meanwhile, seeing that Brieske was going to get no help at all, the Yankees finally managed to get to him again in the sixth as Anthony Rizzo ambushed a first pitch slider for a solo shot of his own. Brieske against bounced back, freezing Stanton with a pair of sliders, one of them a rather generous call after Stanton complained about a good call on the edge for the second strike, to end his outing in style.
As we all know, pitching is not the Tigers problem. Brieske finished with 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, 7 SO, throwing 52 or 83 pitches for strikes. Very good day for Beau Brieske, as he racked up 11 whiffs against the latest incarnation of the Bronx Bombers. Another terrible day for the hitters.
Jason Foley pitched a nice seventh inning with one strikeout, while Joe Jiménez was a little overly cautious of the Yankees’ lineup, walking two around a seeing eye single from Aaron Hicks. A sacrifice fly from Donaldson gave the Yankees their third run, but Andrew Chafin came in to stop the bleeding and got the Tigers out of the inning without another run crossing the plate.
The offense went down quietly again in the top of the ninth against Clay Holmes, and the Tigers had their second straight loss.
If there’s a positive in this one, it was certainly Brieske’s performance. His fastball command was sharp, his velo was strong, and most importantly, the tweaks to his slider that he and Chris Fetter are working on seem to be paying dividends.
Beau Brieske is using his slider for a 38% CSW on the pitch. To have a third pitch going, that’s huge. pic.twitter.com/kTeCkh2W3Y— Rogelio Castillo (@rogcastbaseball) June 4, 2022
The Tigers will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday afternoon as Rony Garcia (0-1, 4.70 ERA) takes on lefty Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.04 ERA) at 11:35 a.m. EDT. The game will only be broadcast on the Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, as the march from irritating cable packages, to needing 10 different streaming apps to watch everything continues. Hurray.