The Detroit Tigers did not appear poised to start their second-half off with a bang coming out of the All-Star Break. Not only did Detroit squander a 3-1 lead late against the Toronto Blue Jays a week ago Sunday, they lost a series to the OAKLAND ATHLETICS less than two weeks ago. You’re telling me that team is supposed to score runs off of the likes of Seattle aces Luis Castillo and George Kirby?
Of course, the transitive property does not apply in baseball. The Tigers dominated a superior AL West unit in the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night after surviving a late Seattle push on Friday night. Kerry Carpenter notched his first career multi-homer game; Michael Lorenzen threw 6.2 scoreless innings; and Beau Brieske made his impressive return out of the Tigers bullpen.
Detroit takes the series, and the Battle of the All-Stars in Michael Lorenzen vs. George Kirby, by a final score of 6-0. Saturday night marked Detroit’s sixth shutout of the year, thanks primarily to a very strong performance from Michael Lorenzen.
After a leadoff walk to J.P. Crawford to open the game, Lorenzen set a tone by striking out Home Run Derby legend Julio Rodriguez and getting a double play ball off the bat of Ty France. Lorenzen then rung up three more batters over the next two innings after a bit of early run support from Kerry Carpenter, Zach McKinstry, and Riley Greene.
Carpenter’s first home run of the night, an opposite-field shot off of Mariners starter George Kirby, gave Detroit an early 1-0 lead. McKinstry later hit a ground-rule double with two outs in the third to set up a Greene RBI single.
The Pacific Northwest is known for its salmon, but we prefer Carp. pic.twitter.com/7PP8I7EuRU— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 16, 2023
In the fourth, Lorenzen once again issued a single walk, this time to Julio Rodriguez, before forcing a second consecutive double play off the bat of Ty France. This clearly pleased the Detroit dugout, as they brought out the fireworks for the top-half of the fifth inning.
A one-out Eric Haase double and two-out Riley Greene walk set up an RBI opportunity for Spencer Torkelson, who delivered a line-drive single to give Detroit a 3-0 lead. Three runs off of George Kirby would’ve been enough tonight, but that simply would not do for Kerry Carpenter.
Per tonight’s home broadcast, Kerry Carpenter is now tied with Tony Clark (1995-96) for the second-most home runs by a Tiger in his first 80 career games with 17, only behind Rudy York (30 HR in 80 G from 1934-37; York would go on to hit 239 total home runs in a Tigers uniform). Carpenter now stands above Tigers legends such as Lance Parrish (15 HR in 80 G from 1977-78) and Willie Horton (14 HR in 80 G from 1963-65) when it comes to early-career thump.
Anyways, while it is very easy to declare this the “Kerry Carpenter game,” we must give credit where credit is due to Michael Lorenzen. With a 6-0 lead in hand, Lorenzen would go on to strike out two Mariners in the fifth, allow just one baserunner in the sixth, and nearly escape the seventh inning before two consecutive late-inning walks ended his night. Lorenzen’s final line: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K. Despite the high walks count, Lorenzen was firmly in control against the Mariners all night. The Mariners didn’t record a hit until Jarred Kelenic singled with one out in the fifth. Lorenzen has now thrown a career-best 14.2 consecutive scoreless innings per Tigers PR.
Michael Lorenzen, Wicked Sweepers. pic.twitter.com/MzXtDcMEGD— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 16, 2023
As if sterling performances from Kerry Carpenter and Michael Lorenzen weren’t enough tonight, 25-year-old Beau Brieske made his 2023 season debut in relief of Lorenzen, punching out three Mariners while allowing one double over a clean four-out appearance. Not only did Brieske dominate the box score, however; he also showed a very noteworthy jump in his velocity out of the bullpen. We saw that a bit this spring before the injury, heck we saw it last spring as well, but the gas appears here to stay now that the right-hander is locked into a bullpen role.
Beau Brieske's four-seam fastball averaged 96.6 mph tonight, up from 94.3 mph last season. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings in his season debut. Five whiffs with one fastball, three sinkers and one changeup. His stuff was nasty. #Tigers— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) July 16, 2023
Brendan White allowed a walk, but he also punched out a pair as he closed out the ninth inning with no issues after coming in for the last out in the eighth.
Tomorrow at 4:10 PM ET, Detroit will go for the road sweep of Seattle in a battle of two stand-out rookie right-handers between Reese Olson and Bryce Miller.
Bonus: Colt Keith continues to impress; this time in the field!
From earlier tonight…Colt Keith made a terrific barehanded play at third base. pic.twitter.com/hFLcUCII1O— Tigers ML Report (@tigersMLreport) July 16, 2023
We’re counting down the days until he dons a Tigers uniform and joins the young core of Riley Greene, Kerry Carpenter, and Spencer Torkelson at the heart of the Tigers’ lineup. Look out, Minnesota; we’re keeping pace! (Unlike the zero-power Guardians. They could really use a Kerry Carpenter right about now.)