The finale and rubber match of a three-game weekend series in Boston saw the Tigers drop a 6-3 decision, giving said series to the Sox.
Eduardo Rodriguez took the hill for the Tigers against his former squad. The Venezuelan lefty had a sensational start last time out against the Royals in Detroit, hurling seven shutout innings and only allowing a pair of hits. Since the trade-deadline-that-wasn’t he’s thrown 13 innings and given up a total of two hits. We could play the “should we or shouldn’t we trade X” game all day, but I like winning and Rodriguez helps the Tigers do just that. So there.
Making the start for the Sox today was Kutter Crawford. That’s kind of a unique name, and I’m surprised I hadn’t ever heard it before today, but I guess I live under a rock. He’s spent most of the last two years shuttling back and forth between the Red Sox bullpen and rotation, and this year is turning out much better than last for him. His walks and hits per nine innings have gone way down, and so has his ERA... but his FIP has only gone down about 0.30, which means he was exceedingly unlucky last year. This year his FIP and his ERA only differ by about 0.25, which means he’s more or less reverted to what one could expect his results to be, given his pitching.
The Tigers got on the board in the second with some smart baserunning and timely hitting. Spencer Torkelson got plunked to lead things off, then Zach McKinstry hit a ball to right. Torkelson, motoring all the way, made it to third and drew a throw, allowing McKinstry to move up to second. Miguel Cabrera hit a grounder to shortstop; the infield was playing back and conceded the run to get Cabrera out at first, putting the Tigers up 1-0.
Boston got that run back in the bottom of the inning, after a Triston Casas walk and a Connor Wong triple down the right-field line, tying the score.
Rodriguez was using his cutter very sparingly the first time through the batting order, although he did get an inning-ending strikeout on it in the second. Crawford, on the other hand, was using a wide-ranging arsenal of pitches (four-seamer, knuckle curve, sweeper, and splitter).
With one out in the bottom of the third, Justin Turner continued the hard contact and clubbed a fat 0-2 changeup over the left-center wall for a solo home run and a 2-1 Boston lead. Trevor Story smashed a ground ball to shortstop that Zack Short couldn’t handle, then he stole second base, and you had to wonder if this inning would get out of hand for Rodriguez and the Tigers. Story stole third on a swinging third strike for the second out, but an Adam Duvall single to left brought in Story for a 3-1 margin. A strikeout of Pablo Reyes ended the inning, but with his pitch count climbing and the hard contact continuing, you had to wonder how long Rodriguez would go in this one.
After two outs on fine defensive plays in the fourth — I’d show you clips but this game was on Peacock and that means the normal ways of getting video clips is busted and seriously screw you peacock — the Socks got two solid singles off more hard contact. But Rodriguez got a strikeout of Turner on a head-high four-seamer to end the inning, thankfully.
Akil Baddoo got a run back in the fifth on a solo home run on an opposite-field line drive over the Green Monster. Here’s what I think it looked like:
If poorly-drawn images like this anger you, please write to your local government representatives to tell them to do something about MLB streaming games on a bajillion different “excluuuusive” services.
Things got away from Rodriguez in the bottom of the fifth, though, after Baddoo lost a fly ball in the Sun and McKinstry couldn’t handle a hard-hit ground ball. Chris Fetter paid a visit to the mound, but he must’ve told Rodriguez how to groove a belt-high fastball to Duvall, ‘cause that’s what he did and Duvall sure as heck didn’t miss. When the ball fell out of orbit the Stockings were up 6-2; Rodriguez finished the inning but that was it for him for the day. The final line: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER. Not great.
Detroit got a run back in the sixth: Matt Vierling hit a grounder to second, Reyes bobbled it for one error and threw it into the dugout for another. Vierling was thus awarded second; he took third on a liner to right by Carpenter, and scored on a Torkelson groundout for a 6-3 score. I tried to draw this but quickly realized it was beyond my artistic capabilities. Instead, let’s watch Angel Hernandez be a terrible umpire:
José Cisnero took over for Rodriguez and got into a bit of two-out trouble with a single and a double (which was Story’s fourth hit of the day), but he got Matsataka Yoshida to ground out and end the inning.
Alex Lange, who’s been having his troubles with the curve lately, came on for the seventh. More accurately, though, Lange’s inability to locate his fastball means hitters have been laying off his curve, which is usually a ball, and as a consequence he’s been walking a ton of guys lately. In his inning of work today he did indeed walk one, but his fastball command was better and he got out of the inning relatively drama-free. Here’s what I think a happy Lange looked like after the outing:
(I have no idea if Lange’s eyes are brown. It’s the default human eye colour, so I went with it.)
With two outs in the eighth — and after Greene got thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple — Vierling singled and Carpenter hit an automatic double that hopped over that short little right field fence. (There’s a decent chance Vierling would’ve scored, had the ball not bounced over, but oh well.) Would the Tigers cash in on this opportunity?
They would not, as Torkelson grounded out to shortstop.
Brendan White had a nicely boring bottom of the eighth, and then Kenley Jansen came on for the save. Nice moment in the ninth inning: Cabrera came to the plate, the pitch clock was turned off, and the visiting crowd gave him a solid ovation. (He got another nice hand as he jogged back to the dugout after flying out.) However, aside from a McKinstry single to right, that was about all the excitement we’d see in the inning, and that was all she wrote.
Numbers and Whatnots
- Nice to see Kerry Carpenter heating up, isn’t it? His OPS by month this year: .744, . 874, .753, 1.192. Granted, August isn’t done yet, but that’s a heck of a start.
- We’re starting to see Carpenter getting more playing time against lefties. As it turns out, his lefty-righty OPS splits aren’t so dramatic this year: against righties his OPS is a robust .870, but against lefties it’s .748, certainly higher than I thought it’d be.
- On this day in 1889, a fellow from Connecticut was granted a patent for the first pay phone. When was the last time you saw one of these (in working condition)? And, when was the last time you used one? I bet it’s been a while.