| Detroit Free Press
What Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch watches for in early spring games
Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch explains what he looks for in early spring training games, Wednesday, March 3, 2021, before a game vs. Phillies.
Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers lost, 4-2, against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.
The Tigers dropped to 2-2 in Grapefruit League play.
The game only lasted seven innings. Daniel Norris started and pitched two scoreless innings, without allowing a walk or hit. Niko Goodrum collected two of five hits for the Tigers, with a single and double. Reliever Buck Farmer gave up all four runs in the third inning. Isaac Paredes made his spring training debut and played third base. Righty Matt Manning pitched two scoreless innings, and 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson played first base.
AN OLD FRIEND: Tigers scouted OF Yoenis Cespedes. How likely is a reunion?
Norris was electric, and he worked quickly — only using 22 pitches (13 strikes) across his two innings. He got two strikeouts to finish his day, one on a slider and the other on a changeup. His fastball sat between 91-93 mph. Norris hopes to claim a spot in the rotation, but he seems to be better suited for a bullpen role.
At the plate
Besides Goodrum’s two hits, not much happened until the seventh inning. Paredes pushed home the Tigers’ first run with a ground out. Willi Castro, who went 0-for-1, and Derek Hill each drew walks. Miguel Cabrera, entering his 19th MLB season, made his first appearance this spring, going 0-for-2 with one strikeout. He served as the designated hitter. In the seventh inning, catcher Eric Haase — who entered as a left fielder — clubbed an RBI double.
On the mound
Farmer stumbled in the third, giving up four runs on three hits and one walk. Drew Carlton had to clean up the mess; he got the final out in four pitches. Manning reached 95 mph with his fastball, and his curveball looked dominant. He used 25 pitches (16 strikes) and registered one strikeout. Ian Krol — on a minor-league deal with a camp invite — struggled with his command, walking two batters, but got out of the sixth inning without further damage. Logan Shore pitched the seventh.
Torkelson, Paredes, Manning, Riley Greene, Kody Clemens and Jake Rogers played. Greene was the leadoff hitter, played the entire game and went 0-for-2 with one walk. Torkelson went 0-for-1, a strikeout looking; Clemens went 1-for-1 (infield single); and Paredes went 1-for-2 (single, RBI groundout). Rogers pinch-hit for Cabrera in the seventh and grounded out to third base. Amid a backup catcher battle, Rogers has four strikeouts in five at-bats this camp.
One mistake worth noting came on a two-run double from Andrew Knapp, as Greene misplayed the line drive to right field. Due to a poor first step, the ball soared over his head.
1. Manning, 2. Goodrum, 3. Norris.
Thursday vs. Toronto Blue Jays in Lakeland.