Another game, another feeble performance from the Detroit Tigers. Joey Wentz melted down as soon as he got in trouble, and the offense was completely outclassed as usual. This was a particularly ugly one, but par for the course for an offense nearly seven months into a historically bad run.
Before the game even started, there was a bit of last minute news as right-hander Trey Wingenter hit the 15-day IL, backdated to April 19 with shoulder tendinitis. Right-handed reliever Will Vest was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take his place.
Right from the jump, the Tigers had a chance for a big inning against right-hander Kyle Gibson, but they blew it. Nick Maton struck out to lead off, but Javier Báez, hitting second, ripped a single to left and Gibson lost the plot, walking both Riley Greene and Kerry Carpenter to load the bases. Spencer Torkelson got ahead 2-1, then whiffed at a well-located sweeper on the outer edge. Gibson came back with a backdoor sinker to the same spot, and Torkelson flailed at it for strike three. It was arguably ball three, but the home plate umpire wasn’t exactly on his game, as we’d see moments later when Zack McKinstry drew ball four, didn’t get the call which should’ve forced in a run, and then lined out to right field. Brutal squander on all fronts.
Joey Wentz had no trouble in the bottom of the first. He punched out Austin Hays, allowed a bloop hit from Adley Rutschman, and then struck out Ryan Mountcastle. Anthony Santander flew out on a smooth, sliding catch by Akil Baddoo down the line in left to end the inning.
Having escaped from the ropes, Kyle Gibson immediately settled in and struck out the side in the second inning. Wentz returned serve with ease, needing just 10 pitches in the bottom half. The fastball, changeup, and cutter were all working for him.
Having blown their best scoring opportunity of the game, the Tigers’ lineup returned to its shell. Suddenly Gibson had his command back and the Tigers looked completely overmatched. They went 1-2-3 in the third, and Wentz promptly fell apart in the bottom half of the inning.
Gunnar Henderson got them started, lining a single to center. Cedric Mullins popped out to Torkelson in foul territory, and after getting ahead of Austin Hays 0-2, Wentz slipped on the rubber and balked Henderson to second. There were intermittent bouts of light rain throughout the game, though to no real effect. As it turned out, the balk didn’t really matter as the Tigers’ lefty just fell apart and couldn’t finish a hitter from this point on.
Wentz recovered to punch out Hays, and got ahead of Rutschman 0-2. Wentz tried to finish him with a high fastball, and the Orioles’ catcher flared it to left for a single to score Henderson. Once again, Wentz got ahead 0-2 against Ryan Mountcastle and couldn’t put him away either. A pair of misses with the changeup and a foul ball followed, and then Wentz pulled a cutter at the bottom of the zone and Mountcastle singled to center.
Chris Fetter made a mound visit at this point, but it didn’t help a bit as Wentz once again got up 0-2 to Anthony Santander and was then scared to death to throw a strike. Four straight balls from that point on loaded the bases, and Ramon Urias drilled a double off the right field wall that cleared them.
More weak ABs followed from the Tigers in the top of the fourth. Kerry Carpenter grounded out and Torkelson and McKinstry struck out swinging.
James McCann led off the bottom of the fourth by crushing a 2-1 fastball at the top of the zone for his first homer of the year. 5-0 Orioles.
Wentz would get through the rest of the inning, but his night was over at that point.
The Tigers continued to flail without a plan or a clue in the fifth and the sixth. Kyle Gibson is a quality starting pitcher, but after looking awful in the first inning, the Tigers made him look like an ace the rest of the way.
Will Vest took over in the bottom of the fifth. He was sharp, striking out Santander and Ramon Urias, with the latter getting tossed for arguing balls and strikes. Terrin Vavra took over at third base.
Vest spun a strong sixth inning as well, striking out Adam Frazier and Gunnar Henderson. The slider and changeup were both working for Vest, although his command still wasn’t as good as we’ve seen him in the past.
Torkelson flew out to center to open the seventh. Zach McKinstry followed with an solo shot to right center field to get the Tigers on the board, and had the best swings of the few the Tigers got off in the game. However, Baddoo struck out and Tyler Nevin grounded out to end the half inning.
Zach McKinstry - Detroit Tigers (2) pic.twitter.com/Wgh2dmwDWl— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) April 23, 2023
Tyler Alexander took over in the bottom of the seventh. He had an easy time of it in his two innings of work as the Orioles looked like they had zero concern about the Tigers’ offense mustering the faintest of threats. As it turned out they were correct. Tigers hitters looked confused and defeated most of the night, showed little fight or ability to anticipate how they’d be pitched, and rolled over and played dead after they missed their chance in the first inning.