LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers tied the New York Yankees, 5-5, on Tuesday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, remaining 9-11 in Grapefruit League play.
Left-hander Tarik Skubal started and went into the fifth inning, but gave up a leadoff walk. That’s when manager AJ Hinch pulled him after 82 pitches (just 42 strikes). Skubal struggled with his fastball command again, and his secondary pitches didn’t bail him out. This spring training, Skubal has a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings. He is expected to make the starting rotation. The Tigers walked 11 batters.
Offensively, they picked up seven hits. The early highlight was Willi Castro’s single to center field in the first inning, driving in Robbie Grossman. Prospect Daz Cameron, recovering from an elbow injury, made his first defensive appearance in right field.
In the eighth inning, Eric Haase crushed his second home run this spring to left field, a three-run homer tying the game at five. Also, he made the final out with two runners in scoring position. Haase is 6-for-14 (.429) with three doubles, two homers and four walks. The Tigers and Yankees did not play extra innings.
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Skubal gave up a leadoff home run to Mike Tauchman on a 2-2 slider that hung up in the strike zone. He allowed another run in the second inning, as Greg Allen hit a sacrifice fly to left field. After those runs, Skubal didn’t allow any more damage — but his outing wasn’t pleasant. He walked five batters and gave up five hits, with three strikeouts. The 24-year-old recorded 11 swings-and-misses: fastball (three), cutter (three), slider (two), splitter (two) and curveball (one). His fastball averaged 94 mph and maxed out at 97.2 mph.
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At the plate
After Castro provided the Tigers’ first run, they were held scoreless until the sixth inning. That’s when Castro tripled to right field. Two batters later, after Miguel Cabrera’s walk, Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play to score Castro, who finished 2-for-3 with one RBI. Haase’s homer came on a 91.9 mph fastball offering from right-hander Nick Goody. The ball went 108.3 mph off Haase’s bat and traveled 365 feet to right field. Technically, he is competing for the backup catcher job, but the Tigers have used him more as a designated hitter and left fielder. Despite the power, Haase is unlikely to make the roster.
On the mound
Right-hander Jose Cisnero entered with no outs and completed the fifth inning. He walked two batters to load the bases but got out of the jam. Lefty Gregory Soto was told to throw strikes if he wants to secure the closer role, so he notched two three-pitch strikeouts to begin the sixth. His fastball sat at 98 mph and his slider got three whiffs. Soto came back out for the seventh but walked Tauchman, so Hinch called on right-hander Bryan Garcia, the closer to end the 2020 season. He loaded the bases, thanks to a hit-by-pitch and two walks, but didn’t allow any runs. Left-hander Tyler Alexander pitched the eighth inning and gave up back-to-back homers to put the Tigers in a 5-2 deficit. Righty Drew Carlton, a minicamp participant, tossed a clean ninth.
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1. Castro, 2. Soto, 3. Haase.
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Wednesday vs. Philadelphia Phillies in Lakeland.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.