clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tampa Bay 10, Detroit 6: Mental errors sink Tigers in Ray-infested waters

A fielding error, multiple basepath goofs and a balk. Sunday’s Tigers game was a tent shy of a circus.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s August 6. By now, we know the Detroit Tigers aren’t good.

But man, Sunday’s outing against the now-68-46 Tampa Bay Rays was not a good one for the boys donning the D, losing 10-6.

Intuitive fans could see destruction coming just by eying the matchup: The pairing of starting pitcher Matt Manning, who has allowed hard contact and 11 earned runs in his last two starts, with the Tampa Bay Rays, who has all but owned the Tigers in 2023, was a nefarious one at best. Naturally, the AL East’s second-place team leaped all over the right-hander, scoring three runs in the first inning and two in the second to give themselves a big early lead.

Tampa chipped away with base hits — aided by an Andy Ibanez error — in the first. The big swing in the second was a 410-foot home run off Yandy Diaz, who went 3-for-5 and fell a triple shy of the cycle on Sunday. But the Tigers’ offense chipped away: For the first time since July 20, Eric Haase drove in a run with a second-inning single to plate Kerry Carpenter. However, Andy Ibanez made his second mistake of the game, allowing himself to get thrown out at home by a wide margin to end the inning.

Brandon Lowe got the run back for the Rays just two innings later with a home run to dead-center field off Manning, pushing their lead back to five. But Detroit didn’t quit: in the bottom of the fourth, Ibanez made up for his previous offensive error by driving in Spencer Torkelson — who had just drilled a 110.9 mph double 388 feet — and moving Carpenter to third base. Akil Baddoo followed with a walk to load the bases with nobody out; a welcome sight for fans of most teams, but Tigers fans have seen this situation not pan out often in 2023.

Haase struck out, and Jake Rogers entered as a pinch hitter, relieving Nick Maton against LHP Colin Poche, who was entering the game for Kevin Cash.

Rogers did what he’s done well lately: crush the ball. Unfortunately, his 102.1 mph rope to left field was caught by Randy Aronzarena. It would have been a productive out — it did score Carpenter from third to get the Tigers within three — but Ibanez made his third and most ridiculous mistake of the day. He seemingly assumed the ball was going to reach the gap and had taken off from second. When the ball was caught, he was nowhere to be seen as Arozarena doubled him off at second base, ending the inning.

The play was doubly bone-headed and frustrating. Had the ball gotten into the gap as Ibanez clearly thought it would have, he’d have scored standing up. For it to be his third mental error — previously costing his starting pitcher two unearned runs, his team a run at the plate and now a completely avoidable double play — it’s worth wondering if his mistakes may have cost the Tigers at least a chance at a tie.

Kerry Carpenter hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning — his 14th of the year — but was immediately followed by a Wander Franco bomb off Brendan White to effectively erase it.

Speaking of Manning, Sunday’s game was his third consecutive in which he was hit hard and often. Tampa Bay tagged him for nine hits, scoring eight runs (six earned), and the right-hander struck out just three batters. His ERA, which sat at a respectable 3.19 after his July 22 outing against the San Diego Padres, has now ballooned to 5.06.

It didn’t help that Andrew Vasquez’s Detroit debut went poorly. He took over for Manning in the sixth inning with two on and two out, and after seemingly getting out of the jam — he had the Bally Sports Detroit broadcast fooled into thinking he had punched out Harold Ramirez — he was instead called for a balk, scoring a run and moving Wander Franco to third. Ramirez proceeded to dribble an infield single to first base, and though Arozarena drew a walk right after, it wasn’t until Luke Raley struck out swinging that the inning truly ended.

White’s outing did not go well either. His aforementioned home run allowed to Franco, who may have been an MVP candidate this season had it not been for a certain Japanese supernova, bumped his ERA to 5.27.

It wasn’t all bad on Sunday. Torkelson went 2-for-3 with the bashed double, a lucky single that had an xBA of just .280 — about time things fell his way — and he drew an eight-pitch walk. Kerry Carpenter had a day too; his home run was preceded by a pair of base hits and a lineout that went 104.2 mph and had an xBA of .610. He was that close to a four-hit day.

Matt Vierling, who roped a single of his own, also made a sweet play at third base. Tiger fans know him primarily as an outfielder, but he’s shown that he can flash the leather at the hot corner, too.

Up next, the Minnesota Twins will visit Comerica Park for a four-game series kicking off Monday, Aug. 7 at 6:40 p.m. with Pablo Lopez (6-6, 4.01 ERA) squaring off against Joey Wentz (2-9, 6.37).