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Guardians 3, Tigers 2: Missed opportunities haunt lackluster offense again

In the first game following the end of the Al Avila era, the offensive problems that have plagued the Tigers all season were out in full force.

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

On one of the more momentous days this organization has had in the last eight years, no one would blame you for forgetting that there was still a game to play. That’s right, folks, the call up of the International League’s Player of the Week in Kerry Carpenter absolutely set the world on fire.

Pause for laughter.

Okay, if you’re here, you’re aware that longtime Detroit Tigers executive and now-former general manager Al Avila was fired this afternoon. That’s a massive deal for a lot of reasons, and other writers here at Bless You Boys have articulated the situation in various articles that I’m sure you’ve all been reading. While the move will impact the Tigers for years to come, there are games left to be played as they took the field Wednesday evening to take on the Cleveland Guardians. Sadly, the theme of little offense for the Tigers continued as they squandered most of their best run scoring opportunities to lose 3-2.

Cleveland jumped on the Tigers right away. Steven Kwan led off the game with a triple to right field, and was driven in by, guess who, MVP candidate and Tiger-killer José Ramírez. It was only a dribbler into left field no more than 70 MPH off the bat, but in the box score it goes as an RBI single, and this is a results-based industry. Leading 1-0 in the second inning, Andrés Giménez bunted his way on and scored on Will Benson’s first major league hit, a single to right-center field. Benson would come around to score on a ground out off the bat of Myles Straw to give the Guardians a 3-0 lead.

Drew Hutchison settled in to give the Tigers five innings with those three runs being the only runs he allowed. Not a great outing, but once again another starting pitcher kept the Tigers in the game only to be let down by his offense. The bullpen was stellar in relief, with Alex Lange, Joe Jiménez, Andrew Chafin, and Gregory Soto throwing perfect sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninths.

The Tigers did their damage in the fourth. After being perfect through three innings, Riley Greene led off with a double off Adam Civale. With one out, Civale started to labor a little bit and hit Javier Báez on the left elbow to put two on for Harold Castro. Hittin’ Harold, as he’s so aptly named, laced a line drive just out of the reach of Giménez at second base to score Greene and pull the Tigers to within two. Eric Haase followed by ripping a double into left field that scored Báez.

There were many opportunities to tie and take the lead, but the Tigers in their usual fashion could not get the hits they needed. In the fifth, Jonathan Schoop ran into an out at home on a smart play by Giménez at second base to cut him down instead of trying to turn a double play. In the eighth, they loaded the bases with one out, but strikeouts for Haase and Carpenter, who went 0-4 with three punchouts in a forgettable debut, snuffed out any remaining hope. No single, no sacrifice fly, no fielders choice, and no passed ball. Nothing. Emmanuel Clase, arguably the best closer in baseball, shut down the Tigers in the ninth. The post-Avila era starts off similar to the Avila era.