Tigers eliminated but have ‘come a long way’

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers’ contention for a playoff spot officially ended at the midpoint of the final week of the regular season. Even with the unique circumstances of the 2020 season, from a 60-game schedule to an expanded postseason bracket, that’s progress.
The Tigers were eliminated with a Blue Jays win over

The Tigers’ contention for a playoff spot officially ended at the midpoint of the final week of the regular season. Even with the unique circumstances of the 2020 season, from a 60-game schedule to an expanded postseason bracket, that’s progress.

The Tigers were eliminated with a Blue Jays win over the Yankees and Detroit’s 7-6 loss to the Twins at Target Field on Wednesday night, when top pitching prospect Casey Mize made his seventh and likely final start of the season. Half of Detroit’s defense supporting him — four of eight position players — opened the season at the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio. To Mize’s right was third baseman Isaac Paredes, Mize’s teammate last year at Double-A Erie. In right field was Daz Cameron, who made his Major League debut earlier this month.

Box score

One night earlier, the Tigers clinched their fourth consecutive losing season on a night when fellow rookie Tarik Skubal struck out six Twins in 3 2/3 innings, Cameron slugged two doubles and had two hard-hit line-drive outs and rookie shortstop Willi Castro drove in one run and scored in a two-hit night. Detroit took Minnesota to extra innings before losing on a couple of 10th-inning bloop singles off rookie closer Bryan Garcia.

The Cinderella story realistically ended earlier in the month as the injuries piled up. On the night the Tigers last stood over .500 at 17-16 and within a game of an American League Wild Card spot with a 12-1 win in Milwaukee, they lost JaCoby Jones for the season with a fractured left hand. Wednesday marked their 16th loss in 21 games since then.

“Everybody has injuries. Next man has got to step up,” interim manager Lloyd McClendon said Wednesday. “We can’t keep making excuses. We have to step up and start getting it done. But having said that, this club has come a long way.

“I think we need to be fair to expectations when you talk about the Detroit Tigers from 2019 to 2020. We’re making tremendous progress. Guys are learning. They’re getting better. They’re being aggressive. They’re mentally competing. We just have to be a little bit more cerebral and start thinking about what we’re doing before it happens and eliminate some of those mistakes.”

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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