An ugly start for Michael Lorenzen put the Detroit Tigers down early against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the offense never came through with runners in scoring position as Detroit dropped the final game of the series, 6-2.
The Tigers got the bad version of Lorenzen early on. He started the game off wild and hit Milwaukee’s leadoff man, Christian Yelich. Lorenzen missed his spots against the next couple of batters and was forced to lob up a few very hittable pitches with men on base.
Rowdy Tellez got ahold of a changeup that hung a little and drove in the first run of the day for Milwaukee with a double to right field. Brian Anderson added two more for the Brewers on a single up the middle, and Lorenzen was quickly on the hook for a loss after a 30-pitch first.
Meanwhile, 2021 All-Star Freddy Peralta was carving up the Detroit offense. He struck out six through the first three innings and had the Tigers fooled with his slider, which generated plenty of swing-and-miss (BaseballSavant’s data got borked in the first few innings, so you’ll just have to trust me). Long story short, Peralta looked great and Lorenzen did not.
The only blemish during Peralta’s first time through the order came in the first when he hit Javier Báez on the hand. Jonathan Schoop entered the game for Báez. X-rays came back negative on his hand, and the team is officially calling it a hand contusion. Things could have been a lot worse, but this could still keep Báez out of the lineup for a bit.
Javier Báez left today’s game with a left hand contusion. X-rays were negative and he is currently receiving treatment.— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) April 26, 2023
Lorenzen had a few bright spots in an otherwise ugly performance. He got Tellez with the bases loaded in the second and struck out back-to-back batters in the third after giving up a two-run shot that made it 5-0.
Detroit got on the board in the top of the fourth after Brian Anderson misplayed a Nick Maton fly ball to right field. The error put Maton on second, and Akil Baddoo came through with a poke to left field that ended up as an RBI double. Jake Rogers joined the party and singled in Baddoo on the very next pitch.
Lorenzen settled down for the fourth and fifth, allowing just one baserunner, but he didn’t come back out for the sixth after reaching the 100-pitch mark. Will Vest got the call out of the bullpen and struck out the side.
Detroit’s bullpen has been one of the best in all of baseball recently, and that’s somewhat surprising after Scott Harris got rid of most of the top arms from a season ago. Major props go to pitching coach Chris Fetter and assistant coaches Robin Lund and Juan Nieves. They’ve gotten the most out of this group and might be the reason this season hasn’t been a total disaster.
Milwaukee also went to the bullpen in the sixth, throwing right-hander Bryse Wilson. Baddoo jumped on him for a leadoff double, but left-hander Hoby Milner got Eric Haase to fly out to end the inning and strand him on third.
Tyler Holton pitched the seventh for the Tigers and set the Brewers down in order. He returned for the eighth after a Jonathan Schoop double and nothing more in the top of the frame. Holton almost made it through a second inning without any trouble, but Joey Wiemer homered to right field for an insurance run. 6-2, Milwaukee.
Detroit couldn’t muster up any offense against Devin Williams in the ninth and finished with 11 strikeouts on the day. Baddoo had a decent day, going 2 for 4 with an RBI, but the rest of the team struggled to drive runs in, which has been a problem all year.
Losing Báez doesn’t help. He’s tied for third on the team with eight RBIs. Hopefully, he can make a quick return and continue the 10-game hit streak he’s on.
At the end of the day, Lorenzen might not have starter stuff. He looked good for three of the five innings he was out there, but that suggests he could perform better in a long-relief role. The Tigers aren’t loaded with options in the starting rotation, though, so this outing is unlikely to hurt him badly. Still, Lorenzen has been a reliever most of his career, and as the Tigers get healthy they’ll re-evaluate Lorenzen’s spot in the rotation unless he can get it going more consistently.
Two out of three ain’t bad, especially on the road. Now it’s time for the Tigers to get some revenge against the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game set at Comerica Park.