After a soggy, rain-shortened win on Saturday, the Detroit Tigers had their sights set on a series sweep on a much cooler, breezier Sunday. However, they ran into a great starting pitcher and couldn’t get anything going with the bats, dropping the finale 4-0.
Tyler Alexander toed the rubber for the Tigers today. Since joining the rotation at the end of July, Alexander’s results have been... well... “Not great, Bob!”: eight starts, 39 innings pitched, 6.23 ERA, .890 OPS against, and nine home runs surrendered. He had a great seven-inning outing against Cleveland in early August, but for his three starts previous to today he didn’t get out of the fifth inning in any of them. I mean, maybe Alexander likes starting more than relieving, but I’m not sure than, other than an occasional spot-start, I think the bullpen — perhaps a long-relief role, which I’ve always felt goes sorely undervalued in a bullpen mix — is better suited to his particular set of skills.
Facing Alexander was Brady Singer, whose season so far has been pretty darn solid. He doesn’t strike out everyone, but he gets his fair share; he limits the walks, by-and-large; he gives up a home run every now and again but doesn’t make a habit of it. He’s shown a marked improvement since 2021, and if he stays healthy he can be an important member of the Royals’ rotation for years to come. Oh, and he’s been pretty stingy against the Tigers in his career overall, holding them to a .666 OPS in nine starts coming into today. Notably, he’s struck out more Tigers than any other opponent — which, given the free-swinging nature of our boys the past couple of seasons, doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
Alexander got into trouble early, when a pair of one-out singles in the first put runners on the corners. A Martin Prado sacrifice fly scored a run, but then Salvador Perez got caught in a rundown between first and second trying to advance and that ended the inning. The Royals then made it a 3-0 game in the second courtesy of Drew Waters, who poked a two-out, two-run double into the right-field corner.
Michael Massey mashed a meatball down the middle, the first pitch of the fourth, over the fence in right field to make it 4-0 for the Missourians.
Meanwhile, Singer was cruising: plenty of ground balls, a sprinkling of strikeouts, and very little hard contact. Through five innings he’d struck out five, gave up two singles, and only thrown 58 pitches.
Nice play by both Tucker Barnhart and Ryan Kreidler in the bottom of the fifth: Perez struck out as Bobby Witt Jr. was trying to steal third base. Barnhart gunned the ball to third, and Kreidler made a sensational tag on Witt as he was sliding.
The Tigers caught a bad break in the sixth: Victor Reyes hit a smash down the first-base line which was deflected by Royals first baseman Nick Pratto... and then it hit first-base umpire Lew Williams. Pratto picked up the ball, lunged, and tagged first base with his glove to retire Reyes. That took what was probably a sure double away from Reyes, and was one of the few hard-hit balls off Singer.
Alexander’s final line wasn’t great, and looks pretty similar to what he’s been doing over the past month or so, for the most part: five innings, four runs, a walk, two strikeouts, and a home run surrendered. Alex Lange took over for the sixth and, like Alexander did in the first, put runners on the corners with one out — but, unlike Alexander, he managed to get out of the inning without giving up a run.
In the seventh, Spencer Torkelson poked a one-out double down the left field line and was wild-pitched to third. Singer then struck out Kerry Carpenter on a high fastball, and Jonathan Schoop hit a high chopper to third which Hunter Dozier deftly handled, gunning a throw to first base for the third out.
Joe Jiménez took over for Lange to start the bottom of the seventh, and struck out the side. My goodness, he looked nasty. Absolutely overpowering.
Gregory Soto, perhaps looking to get some work in, came in for the eighth — and he looked good. Had the slider going, which is nice.
In the ninth the Royals put Scott Barlow out to nail down the game, which he did. At least it was a series win, though, right?
Numbers and Observations
- Coming into today’s game, Kerry Carpenter rode a three-game streak of two-hit games, including a pair of home runs and a double — while only striking out twice in those three games combined.
- At the end of the 10-0 drubbing last Monday, Eric Haase’s batting average and OPS .233 and .681, respectively. Three games later, they were at .257 and .761 — not numbers that’d set the world on fire, but holy moly, what a three-game stretch.
- Alex Lange ditched his traditional mock-turtleneck look today.
- I know that these days a lot of people are paying attention to the football field. And I absolutely know what your number one question is: are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for real? It sure looks that way.
- On this date in the year 9 CE — it’s not often that I get to go single-digits on here — the Romans had their butts handed to them at the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest. Up to this encounter, the Romans had been expanding their empire all willy-nilly across western Europe... but after this, they were pretty much limited to territory east of the Rhine. Take that, Augustus!