Detroit Tigers suffer the largest shutout loss in team history; so who are these guys?

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers outfielder Travis Demeritte hung his head as he walked off the field at Comerica Park.

Finally, an excruciating ninth inning was over.

He didn’t misplay a pop fly in the outfield, make a throwing error or strike out swinging. Rather, he was pitching in a 19-0 loss Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers — the worst margin of defeat in a shutout in franchise history.

These Tigers (19-22) entered the day one game behind the New York Yankees for the AL’s eighth and final spot in the playoffs. Although, in the finale of a two-game home series, they resembled the team that lost 114 games a year ago, if not worse.

They have never had a shutout loss this bad. The previous worst was a 16-0 defeat to the St. Louis Browns on Sept. 9, 1922.

At least the Tigers had five hits in that game.

On Wednesday, they had just two.

“A lot of bad things happen when some game goes like that one, and it went awry pretty quick,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s only one game, and we’ll go on from there.”

But this one game is frustrating for a team in a playoff race. One day, the Tigers look like they could be a dark horse in the postseason as a squad built on grit and a never-quit attitude. Other days, such as Wednesday, it’s unclear whether they deserve to be described as contenders.

[ Tigers must ‘turn the page’ to stay in playoff contention ]

When Demeritte trotted out to the mound to start the ninth, he grinned at his teammates jogging to their positions in the infield. There were no smiles on the way back after giving up four runs. His 80 mph fastballs gifted the Brewers some extra batting practice; Jedd Gyorko and Tyrone Taylor both smashed homers to left field.

“We weren’t going to use another pitcher, so it was going to be somebody,” Gardenhire said. “And Demeritte was in the game as the DH for (Miguel) Cabrera, and, obviously, he was going to be the guy to pitch. … We were not going to use any more pitchers out there, so it was a pretty simple thing. I told Demeritte, ‘Just don’t get killed.'”

The advice didn’t help him in his pitching debut.

How could it?

But it wasn’t just Demeritte who got waxed. Left-handed starter Matthew Boyd gave up seven runs and couldn’t get an out in the fourth inning. His replacement, right-hander John Schreiber, gave up two runs. Rony Garcia allowed three more, as did Kyle Funkhouser. 

Thirteen of the Brewers’ 21 hits went for extra bases — eight doubles and five home runs.

As for the Tigers’ offense? Just two hits by shortstop Willi Castro and no walks with 11 strikeouts, all coming from Brewers starter Corbin Burnes. Even Castro, however, wasn’t flawless. He made a throwing error in the ninth inning on what could’ve been the final out before two more runs scored.

[ Daz Cameron’s ‘life-changing’ COVID-19 battle concludes with Tigers debut ]

It’s worth mentioning Boyd didn’t give up back-to-back leadoff homers in the first inning, something he has done three times this season. Yet it went downhill from there; the Opening Day starter gave up four doubles and a walk to open the second.

“Just overthinking it, really,” Boyd said. “That leads into tempo, that leads to not being able to get into a rhythm. I mean, I could see what they were trying to do, and I just couldn’t command the baseball today. Kinda happens. Just got to bounce back, learn from it. A lot to be learned. Got to go out there and go get ’em next time.”

Gyorko crushed his first of two home runs on a 3-2 count to start the third inning. Boyd opened the fourth allowing a single, a home run (to Jacob Nottingham) and a walk before Gardenhire benched him. He finished with seven earned runs on eight hits and four walks.

Boyd’s ERA, which has significantly improved in his last three outings, jumped to 7.63.

He looked lost again.

“In a season of many starts, he just had a bad day,” Gardenhire said. “It just snowballed from there. I think we all had a bad day. You guys had to have a bad day, you had to watch that, too. So, you know what? That wasn’t fun. We tried to survive.”

[ Jordan Zimmermann returns from injured list, will start Thursday ]

The Tigers’ lone opportunity to score came on Castro’s 421-foot triple off the wall in the deepest part of the ballpark in right-center field. But Burnes came back to strike out Jorge Bonifacio and Daz Cameron, who was making his MLB debut. 

They couldn’t hit. They couldn’t pitch.

And there was no way the Tigers, with 11 comebacks in 2020, were going to climb out of the hole they dug themselves in this time.

That leaves one question, unanswerable for the time being. 

Who are these Tigers?

“It’s just one of those bad days that led to more bad,” Gardenhire said. “Not much good happened for us, other than no one got hurt.”

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content. 

Articles You May Like

Pennsylvania Lottery Online Plays
Twins at Tigers postponed on Thursday, to be made up as Saturday doubleheader
Max Anderson and Andrew Jenkins homer to power the Whitecaps
Tigers affiliates manage an organizational sweep on Tuesday
Pitching carries Erie to series win as the full minor league season opens

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *