It was a laser show on Monday night at Comerica Park as the Tigers broke out the bats to trounce the visiting San Diego Padres 12-4. Led by huge nights from Jeimer Candelario and Eric Haase, the offense finally woke up by hitting four home runs.
The Tigers rank dead last in the majors with a 66 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, but have hit lefties to a league average rate of 100 wRC+. Three of their homers in the game came off of left-handed pitchers. In a year that has totally fallen flat, it’s nice to have a fun night like Monday where we get to see the Tigers unconditionally dominate. Hopefully they saved some runs for the rest of the series. Either way, these have been few and far between. Best enjoy them when we can.
To say Jeimer Candelario has had a trying season would be an understatement. The Candy Man came into Monday’s game worth only 66 wRC+, after a 2021 campaign where he was worth 119 wRC+. He broke out in the biggest of ways by mashing two home runs, both over 400 feet, to left field. He also had a single in the seventh inning to give him a three-hit game. Will this lead to him turning around his season? Time will tell, but Candelario needed to start making harder contact and Monday night was a great start. Let’s see some progress against right-handed pitching before we get too excited.
Drew Hutchison started on the mound for the Tigers and had a pretty ho-hum outing, lasting only 4.1 innings allowing four runs. The offense of the Tigers didn’t need him to be any better than that. Hutchison cruised early on, allowing just a solo-shot to Jurickson Profar in the third inning, and then couldn’t get out of the fifth inning when his command left him. In all fairness, Willi Castro pulled a Jarren Duran in right field — losing the ball completely in the lights — that gave Trent Grisham a double and allowed the Padres to score a run. However, that seemed to shake Hutchison up a bit. After that, a single and back-to-back walks would end his night.
Thankfully, none of that mattered because the Tigers were leading 9-1 at the time. After a sacrifice fly from Javier Báez in the third inning to tie the game at one, Eric Haase broke the game open with a grand slam off Manaea. Originally ruled a double, an overturned challenge ruled that it had just cleared the fence in right field. It was Haase’s second grand slam of his career. In the fourth, Candelario led off the inning with his first homer of the game. The Tigers weren’t done there, scoring three more runs courtesy of an RBI double from Báez, an RBI groundout by Robbie Grossman, and a wild pitch by MacKenzie Gore that allowed Báez to scamper home.
When Eric Haase hits them, they're GRAAND SLAAMS. pic.twitter.com/wf4irEE4X3— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 26, 2022
The Padres tried to creep back into the game by scoring three in the fifth, but Will Vest came in for Hutchison to shut down any chance of it becoming a bigger inning. The Tigers got two of those runs right back in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of Candelario’s second homer to put the Tigers up 11-4.
Finally, to cap off one of the most entertaining games of the season, the living legend Miguel Cabrera hit his fourth home run of the season. It was a solo-shot in the sixth inning that he effortlessly flipped over the left field wall. We still see that classic Miggy swing on a nightly basis, but these days he’s known for his RBI singles flicked over the infielder’s heads. It’s nice to see him breakout the big guns every once in awhile, and the crowd most definitely appreciated it as well.
As mentioned, Will Vest did really nice work out of the bullpen coming to the rescue of Drew Hutchison. He pitched a scoreless sixth as well before giving way to Joe Jimenez in the seventh, Andrew Chafin in the eighth, and Jason Foley in the ninth. Both Jimenez and Chafin have had very good seasons in the bullpen and could be attractive options on the trade market. With the deadline quickly approaching, their continued success could be very important to the future of the Tigers.
Garrett Hill will take on a twitchy old foe in right-hander Mike Clevinger on Tuesday night.