Injury forces Detroit Tigers to bullpen in 11-0 loss to White Sox in Game 2 of doubleheader

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd trotted off the field, down the steps and into the clubhouse in the second inning after 36 pitches.

In an emergency, righty Michael Fulmer was called from the bullpen. Boyd was removed from his start with left knee tendinitis. The severity of his injury and timetable for return remain unclear.

The White Sox scored four runs in the second inning (and seven in the fifth), en route to handing the Tigers (8-18) an 11-0 loss in Game 2 of Thursday’s seven-inning doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field. Detroit lost the three-game series, after winning Tuesday’s opener. The Tigers have lost 12 out of their last 14 games.

TUESDAY’S GAME: Tigers chase Lucas Giolito in seventh inning for 5-2 win

DH GAME 1: Tigers strike out 13 times in 3-1 loss to White Sox

During the three-game slate with the White Sox, the Tigers’ offense went 11-for-81 (.136) with six runs, four walks and 31 strikeouts. In Thursday’s doubleheader alone, accounting for 14 total innings, the offense was 5-for-47 (.106) with one run, one walk and 22 strikeouts.

In the fifth inning, the White Sox scored seven runs. Yoan Moncada and Yermin Mercedes crushed home runs for four of those seven runs allowed by relievers Derek Holland and Alex Lange. Leadoff hitter Tim Anderson, notorious for giving the Tigers trouble, went 1-for-5 with four strikeouts in Game 2.

White Sox starter Dylan Cease pitched all seven innings. He gave up three hits — two in the first inning and one in the second inning — and retired the final 17 batters in order to end the game. He did not allow a walk.

Detroit begins a three-game series with the New York Yankees at 7:05 p.m. Friday in New York. Left-hander Tarik Skubal is starting, opposed by righty Gerrit Cole. After facing the Yankees, the Tigers will conclude their nine-game road trip with three games against the Boston Red Sox.

What happened to Boyd

There didn’t seem to be anything bothering Boyd until he stepped off the mound after a second-pitch fastball to Leury Garcia in the second inning. Athletic trainer Doug Teter, manager AJ Hinch, pitching coach Chris Fetter and catcher Wilson Ramos went to check on him.

After a conversation, Boyd left the game with a knee injury.

YOUNG ARMS: What Tigers have learned about Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal developments in 2021

In the first inning, Boyd allowed a leadoff single to Anderson, but he came back with back-to-back swinging strikeouts in difficult at-bats with Luis Robert and Moncada. He struck out Robert with a seventh-pitch slider and Moncada with a sixth-pitch changeup.

Boyd gave up a single to Jose Abreu on a well-placed fastball but Mercedes flied out on his changeup to keep the White Sox from scoring.

He got all six of his swings-and-misses in the first inning: three with his four-seam fastball, two with his changeup and one with his slider. For his 36 pitches, he used 21 four-seamers, nine changeups, two curveballs and two sliders.

Entering Thursday, Boyd had a 1.82 ERA through 34⅔ innings in five starts. He had six walks, 22 strikeouts and just one home run allowed. He gave up two runs on three hits and one walk, with two strikeouts, in one-plus innings against the White Sox.

Fulmer takes over

Pitching on three days rest, Fulmer entered from the bullpen to take over for Boyd. (Earlier this week, Hinch swapped roles between Fulmer and Skubal. Previously, Fulmer was in the rotation and Skubal was working in the bullpen, so it wasn’t surprising to see Fulmer available as a reliever in Chicago.)

Fulmer issued back-to-back singles to begin his outing — pushing home two runs inherited to Boyd — before striking out Anderson on three swinging strikes, finishing him with a 95.8 mph fastball for the first out. Robert field out to right field for the second out.

But Fulmer worked himself into a problem, walking Moncada to load the bases. Abreu singled to score two runs, giving the White Sox a 4-0 lead. Fulmer got the final out in the second inning on a come-backer from Mercedes.

UNDER PRESSURE: How Miguel Cabrera handles ‘a little bit’ of pressure to carry the offense

UPSET: Miguel Cabrera claims White Sox accused Tigers of sign stealing: ‘Get the (expletive) out of here’

Fulmer pitched around a single and a walk in the third inning (his second frame), getting strikeouts of Yasmani Grandal and Anderson. He threw 27 of his 47 pitches for strikes and topped out at 98.2 mph with his sinker.

He got 10 swings-and-misses: five with his four-seam fastballs, three with his slider and one each with his sinker and changeup.

The rest of the way

After Boyd and Fulmer, the Tigers turned to right-hander Buck Farmer (fourth inning), Holland (fifth inning), Lange (fifth inning) and left-hander Tyler Alexander (sixth inning).

Holland gave up four runs on three hits and one walk, without getting an out. He has a 14.63 ERA this season after making the team as a non-roster invitee in spring training. Lange allowed three runs on three hits. He got one strikeout and completed the fifth inning with 26 pitches.

Farmer and Alexander were the only relievers to post scoreless innings.

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

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