Why Detroit Tigers’ Tarik Skubal used Matthew Boyd’s glove, and what went wrong in start

Detroit Free Press

Matthew Boyd didn’t give Detroit Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal any trouble when the rookie asked to borrow his glove.

Skubal got to Minnesota for Tuesday’s start against the Twins at Target Field and realized he left his two gloves behind in Detroit. Although Boyd could’ve gladly messed with him, he handed over his glove, which reads, “Matthew Boyd” across the outside of the mitt. 

For subscribers: Jim Leyland: Tigers will have ‘guys waiting in line’ for manager job

“Showed up to the field today, and I was just looking in my locker,” Skubal said Tuesday. “I was like, ‘Something’s missing.’ And I couldn’t really figure out what it was, and it was two gloves that I forgot to bring.”

The conversation began when Skubal let out a sigh and said, “Oh, no, that’s not the right thing here.” Boyd chimed in: “Yeah, you can use this glove.”

[ Skubal shows he can bounce back from early errors ]

Using Boyd’s glove, Skubal gave up two runs on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in the Tigers’ 5-4 loss in the 10th inning. His repertoire remained solid, but his command faltered. He got two outs in the fourth inning but loaded the bases. After 78 pitches, interim manager Lloyd McClendon wouldn’t allow him to try to squeeze out of the jam.

“The traditional way of thinking about how you use your bullpen is gone,” McClendon said Tuesday. “You have to manage the innings, and what inning is most important to keep you in a ballgame. I felt, in that situation, bringing (Jose) Cisnero was the right thing to do, and then go to (Daniel) Norris.”

His decision paid off: Cisnero struck out Byron Buxton — who homered off Skubal in the first inning — on three 96 mph fastballs. He got Buxton looking with the last one.

[ Tigers already have a willing candidate for next manager: Lloyd McClendon ]

But it was Skubal’s troubles that put McClendon in a situation to make a quick judgment call. He ran into an immediate roadblock as Buxton drove his third pitch of the game, a 82.2 mph change-up, over the left-field wall. The pitch selection wasn’t a problem, but rather the location.

“It was just up,” Skubal said. “That’s why he crushed it. Just missed.”

After the first inning, he went to head athletic training Doug Teter. His knuckles on his right hand had blisters from Boyd’s glove. Adjustments were made to the glove, and there were no further issues.

He gave up a walk to Josh Donaldson, his second batter, but went on to retire 10 in a row before catcher Mitch Garner’s solo home run gave the Twins a 2-1 lead. After another hit, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases, he was pulled. 

[ Tigers’ 2019 home run leader Brandon Dixon returns with no pressure ]

“I just didn’t think my mentality was in the right place at that point, just working out of the stretch and stuff,” Skubal said. “Thinking about things that I shouldn’t be thinking about. And then, stuff happens. Next thing you know, bases are loaded. I just have to do a better job.”

Despite the leadoff homer against his change-up, he used it nine times, along with 48 fastballs and 13 sliders. Since he got called up in August, he has produced positive results when his change-up was working.

[ How Skubal completely transformed his changeup ]

On Tuesday, his command just wasn’t up to par.

“I just didn’t do a good job of consistently getting down the mound and getting over to my front side,” Skubal said. “Felt like every inning was out of the stretch. I felt like I had good stuff, just not consistent. That’s the difference.”

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com 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

GameThread: Tigers vs. Braves, 7:20 p.m.
AL Central Notes: Crochet, Clevinger, Wacha, Lange
Tigers 0, Braves 7: Tigers shut out in rough afternoon outing
Tigers vs. Braves Game Highlights (6/18/24) | MLB Highlights
Series Preview: Detroit Tigers return home to host Chicago White Sox this weekend

Leave a Reply

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