Detroit Tigers’ relievers defeated, 4-1, by Cleveland’s Zach Plesac, Franmil Reyes

Detroit Free Press

Manager AJ Hinch went on his first road trip with the Detroit Tigers and immediately ran into a challenge: His starter, right-hander Julio Teheran, could not take the mound.

During warmups, Teheran felt tightness in his triceps and was shut down for precautionary reasons. The Tigers turned to left-hander Derek Holland Friday night at Progressive Field.

Right-hander Zach Plesac fooled the Tigers through seven scoreless innings, leading Cleveland to a 4-1 victory over the Tigers (3-4) in the series opener.

NOTEBOOK: Tigers considering six-man rotation, not ready to make Gregory Soto the closer

Plesac wasn’t threatened, allowing three hits and no walks and striking out six. He used 97 pitches (70 strikes) and didn’t face much pressure.

In the top of the eighth, three pitches into reliever’s Bryan Shaw’s outing, Wilson Ramos crushed a 443-foot home run to center field. He put the Tigers on the board, but they didn’t score again.

The Tigers take on Cleveland at 6:10 p.m. Saturday in the second of three games. Left-hander Tarik Skubal is starting, opposed by righty Aaron Civale. 

Fill-in starter unlucky

The baseball gods didn’t favor Holland, especially not in the first inning. He got Jose Ramirez — Cleveland’s best hitter — to ground into the shift up the middle, but the ball deflected off second base. What could have been an inning-ending double play became a single.

The next batter, Eddie Rosario, nearly grounded into a double play, but he beat the throw from shortstop Willi Castro — who got Ramirez out at second base — by half a step, pushing home the first run of the game. The next batter, Franmil Reyes, launched a two-run homer to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead.

SEIDEL: How surprise finding sent Akil Baddoo rushing to airport during his unforgettable week

WINDSOR: Tigers’ Akil Baddoo an omen for draft luck change for Lions, Pistons, Red Wings?

Holland settled down in the second and third innings. In the second, Castro’s throw on another potential inning-ending double play — after getting a force out at second base — was a tad late. He also had a throwing error. With two outs and runners on first and second, though, Cesar Hernandez flied out.

It only took Holland seven pitches to get two outs in the third, and Hinch went to Buck Farmer for the final out of the inning.

Making the most of an unusual situation, Holland got seven swings-and-misses with his 46 pitches (31 strikes): four sinkers, two curveballs and one four-seamer. His sinker averaged 93.3 mph and maxed out at 94.6 mph.

Over his 13-year MLB career, Holland has started 228 of his 310 appearances. It was his first start since Aug. 28, 2020, for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Farmer, Fulmer strong

Farmer finished the third and tossed a perfect fourth, sending down the bottom three in Cleveland’s order with ease. He got a 3-2 strikeout with a slider against Roberto Perez.

Entering Friday, Farmer had made just two appearances with five earned runs in low-leverage situations. But Farmer pitched much better Friday, getting two swing-and-misses with his changeup.

Unlike Farmer, right-hander Michael Fulmer has been electric out of the bullpen. He made the transition from the starting rotation in spring training and continues to find success in his newest venture. The 28-year-old showcased his rejuvenated explosiveness Friday, racking up five strikeouts in four innings. He didn’t allow a walk.

Fulmer’s lone noteworthy blemish was a 95 mph four-seamer that Reyes launched over the center-field wall for a 446-foot homer. It was his second homer of the game and gave Cleveland a 4-0 lead in the sixth inning.

Ramirez had the other hit off Fulmer, a single in the eighth off Jonathan Schoop’s glove at first.

Mixing his pitches well, Fulmer used 25 sliders, 16 sinkers, 12 four-seam fastballs, 11 changeups and one curveball. His fastball averaged 94.9 mph — a 1.9 mph improvement from last year’s average — and maxed out at 96.5 mph. He got nine swings-and-misses (five with his slider) and six called strikes.

Bats ice cold, even Baddoo

The Tigers got a leadoff single from Castro, but didn’t pick up another hit until Niko Goodrum’s single in the third inning. After that, Plesac sent down 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.

Rule 5 draft pick Akil Baddoo entered Friday’s clash hitting 5-for-11 (.445) with one triple, two homers and seven RBIs in four career MLB games. Even the 22-year-old, who has grabbed the attention of the baseball world, couldn’t find his groove against Plesac.

Baddoo finished 0-for-2 with one strikeout and one walk. He drew the Tigers’ only walk, in the eighth off Shaw.

How Tigers’ Gregory Soto unleashed the fire in his arm, hair and emotions ]

Castro was the only Tiger with two hits. He got his second single with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, but Jeimer Candelario grounded out to strand him.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

Articles You May Like

Tigers’ new enhanced coaching staff is diverse and development-centric
2022 Rule 5 Draft Results
Rick Porcello Announces Retirement
Tigers have careful path to tread after Winter Meetings
Tigers trade Joe Jimenez for top-rated position player in Braves’ system

Leave a Reply

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