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Tigers 9, Athletics 0: We needed that

The Tigers avoided a sweep at the hands of a pretty lousy team.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We had a little exchange last night in our BYB Slack channel. It went a little like this.

Peter K: I’m convinced [the Tigers] get swept tomorrow.

Me: They better not get swept tomorrow. I’m recapping that game.

Well, in the finale of a three-game series in which Oakland beat the Tigers in a low-scoring Tuesday game and a clobbering on Wednesday night, Detroit managed to find where someone had hidden their bats all week, bashing-out 13 hits in the process, and won 9-0 in a laugher.

Newly-minted All-Star Michael Lorenzen started this one for Detroit. We had a round-table discussing who we all thought should be an All-Star, which was conducted just before the team was announced. How many times did Lorenzen appear in that article? About the same number of times he appeared in our Slack discussion last week about the French Revolution: zero. That’s not to say he’s had a bad year, quite the opposite: he made his 15th start of the season today, he’s cut his walks way down, and he has a WHIP under 1.2 — not to mention he hasn’t been injured (much), which is a big deal with this team. But, more traditionally, he’s 2-6 with a mid-4 ERA, and to quote Shania Twain, “That don’t impress me much.”

Facing the fearsome Tiger lineup today was Hogan Harris, a rookie 26-year-old hard-throwing lefty making his fourth start and ninth appearance in his career, and in the 2023 season. Coming into today he’d walked 15 in 38 13 innings, which isn’t so great, but he has generally kept the home runs down — not the biggest concern with the lineup he was facing today, natch.

The Tigers surprised everyone by putting two runners on in the first inning with one out: Spencer Torkelson walked and Andy Ibáñez doubled. Kerry Carpenter then struck out, bringing Javier Báez to the plate, and you’re thinking, sheesh, I’ve seen this before. But then the unthinkable happened, on an 0-2 count no less: a little flare over the shortstop’s head scored both Torkelson and Ibáñez to put the Tigers up 2-0.

Lorenzen looked good through the first three innings, too: he was efficient (only 26 pitches and 19 strikes), and he got a ground-ball double play when he needed one, while striking out three. Maybe this guy is an All-Star.

Matt Vierling led off the third with a walk, and Ibáñez singled — I really hope his bat is heating back up — to put two runners on with one out. Carpenter then followed with a single, scoring Vierling and putting Detroit up 3-0. Báez followed with a walk, and yes, you read that right; Jonathan Schoop followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Ibáñez, making it a 4-0 game.

Zach Short led off the fourth with a double to left, and Jake Marisnick followed with a deep double to centre to score Short. Marisnick took a huge lead on the first pitch and easily stole third, and a Vierling single scored him for a 6-0 lead.

Báez led off the fifth with yet another Tiger double, and Schoop reached on a dribbler under the glove of the Oakland second baseman, pushing Báez up to third. Eric Haase grounded into a double play, and Báez scored on the play for a 7-0 lead.

Lorenzen’s day was done after five innings, 60 pitches (40 for strikes), three hits, no walks and four whiffs; guess he has to get things straightened around for the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Tyler Holton took over for the sixth, he fielded a popup in foul territory (pretty unusual for a pitcher), and ended the inning uneventfully.

Marisnick led off the sixth with a 410-foot home run to center, making it an 8-0 game. Then, in the seventh, after a pair of singles, Eric Haase punched a single into left field to score Báez for a 9-0 lead.

Brendan White replaced Holton after the latter’s two very nice innings, and the only runner on base in the eighth was there because of a Tyler Nevin throwing error.

Jace Peterson moved from third base to the pitcher’s mound for the bottom of the eighth, and he gave up some long fly balls that were mostly caught for outs. Peterson gave up a single and walked one, but ultimately it was scoreless.

Chasen Shreve finished things up in the ninth for the Tigers in the easy victory.

When Is His Rehab Stint Over Again?

Some Detroit Fellows Visited The Ball Park Yesterday

If you’re a little lost by the reference, here’s the original sketch. (Note: there’s some silly, but adult, language in this clip.)

Notes and Numbers

  • Month-by-month OPS for Zach McKinstry: .775, .865, .485.
  • Four games into July, though: 5-for-15, one home run, three runs scored, only a pair of strikeouts. So that’s something, I suppose.
  • As a follow-up this afternoon to Peter’s Wednesday-night prognostication about the Tigers getting swept today, he had this to offer: “The universe loves making me look foolish.”
  • Oh my goodness, too many celebrity birthdays today to do any individual ones justice, so I’ll just list some: Vince McMahon Sr., Nancy Reagan, Merv Griffin, Bill Haley, George W. Bush and Fred Dryer and Sylvester Stallone all on the same exact date, Willie Randolph, Inspectah Deck, 50 Cent, Tamera and Tia Mowry, and Kevin Hart. Whoa! A little something for everyone today, I guess.