The Detroit Tigers dropped a pair of games to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday evening: a close 3-1 loss in Game 1, but a blowout, 11-0, in Game 2. A rainout on Wednesday necessitated a pair of seven-inning contests on Thursday, a decidedly nicer day and evening, weather-wise. The somewhat unusual start time (4:10 pm CDT) made for some strange shadows at the start of the twin-bill.
Game 1: White Sox 3, Tigers 1
Carlos Rodón came into Game 1 with a 0.47 ERA, a 3-0 record, a sparkling 0.684 WHIP, and a no-hitter in his three starts — so you just know he was champing at the bit to face the light-hitting Tigers lineup. Now, I know a few of you you are wondering, “Wait, Rodón? Wasn’t he a relief pitcher the Tigers had a couple of years ago?” Well, no, that’s another guy, Bruce Rondón. Hope this helps.
Casey Mize, who was profiled in this excellent article by our very own Brandon Day, looked to avoid the home run; coming into today’s games he’d given up five home runs in 20 2⁄3 innings.
Rodón was extremely sharp right off the bat, slowly dialing up his fastball speed, working quickly, and using the high strike. He struck out seven of the first nine Tigers he faced, including five in a row, all swinging.
Mize had the splitter working well, but Zach Collins roped a double off one of ‘em to lead off the third. Collins was bunted to third by Billy Hamilton, but was stranded there after back-to-back strikeouts of Leury Garcia and Tim Anderson. Thanks for the free out, Mr. LaRussa!
Robbie Grossman manufactured a run in the fourth by singling sharply to left, stealing second pretty easily, and he scored a couple of outs later on a two-out Jonathan Schoop double, making it 1-0 for the Detroiters. That would be the only lead they’d have all evening.
Mize got into trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with none out by giving up a single and then suddenly forgetting where the plate was. A Hamilton groundout and a Garcia single gave Chicago a 3-1 lead. A flyout and strikeout limited the damage.
More about that Hamilton groundout: the ball was hit to Miguel Cabrera, who bobbled it slightly as he was gearing up to throw out Jake Lamb at home. Instead, he scooped it up and got the putout at first, and Garcia’s single followed. If Cabrera got the force at home, and if Garcia had instead grounded into a double play… it’s a much different game. “Baseball is a game of inches,” as they say.
Rodón, meanwhile, kept rolling: the first two turns through the lineup brought 12 whiffs, all swinging except the first one, he had 21 swings-and-misses in total today, and his upper-80s slider was working some magic. Oh, and his fastball was touching 99 mph in the sixth, no big deal. Fun fact: Rodón was non-tendered by the White Sox at the end of the 2020 season, and was re-signed as a free agent just before Spring Training.
Yoan Moncada jumped on a first-pitch slider in the sixth for a double to right, and you had to wonder if Mize was on the ropes. But, Jose Abreu grounded out (and Moncada didn’t advance), Jake Lamb was frozen — yes, like a frozen rack of lamb, admit it, you were thinking it too — on a third-strike four-seamer, and Vaughn whiffed on another four-seamer away. So hey, at least he finished strong… and, technically speaking, he had himself a complete game. (A commenter in the GameThread nicknamed it a “Complete McGame,” which I thought was great.)
Liam Hendriks, at whom the Sox threw a dump-truck-full of cash this past offseason to be their closer, came on to pitch the seventh. To that: Schoop struck out, Niko Goodrum popped out, and Wilson Ramos grounded out.
Game 2: White Sox X, Tigers Y
The second game of Manfredball today featured Matthew “Boyd oh Boyd” facing Dylan “Cease and Desist.” Boyd, as you probably know, was sensational last Saturday in a loss against the Royals, lasting eight innings and giving up two runs (one earned). In his previous start he pitched into the eighth, giving up two runs (both earned). Would he continue his stellar run? Long story short, no.
Due to a brief storm passing through the Chicagoland area, we’d have to wait a little over an hour (extra) to find out. Predictably, Cabrera slid over to DH for the nightcap, with Schoop manning first base. We also saw an all-Castro double-play combination, with Willi at second and Harold at shortstop.
Cease’s history against the Tigers has been… well, not so good for the Detroiters. Five starts, 5-0 record, 2.86 ERA; that’s the best ERA he has against any team he’s faced more than once. Meanwhile, Boyd’s previous five starts against the White Sox featured 23 innings and 19 runs. Yikes.
After a first inning that saw both teams put two runners on but see their mini-rallies end with a flyout, the bottom of the second opened with a Yasmani Grandal walk, followed by an Andrew Vaughn double to centre. Grandal was held at third, but Boyd was off a bit; he was uncharacteristically yanking fastballs inside to righties. After the second pitch to Leury Garcia, Boyd motioned to the dugout that something was wrong, the braintrust went out for a visit, and that was the end of Boyd’s evening. Shortly after…
From the Tigers: Matthew Boyd left tonight’s game with left knee tendinitis.
— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) April 30, 2021
We’ll keep you posted on all further developments, I’m sure. (Also, since it’s a disorder of the tendon, shouldn’t it be “tendonitis?” Apparently either spelling is right, but mine feels more right.)
Michael Fulmer, who was going to be available for the rained-out game, inherited a 1-1 count and gave up a bloop single over the drawn-in infield to Garcia to score Grandal; Nick Madrigal kept the line moving with another single, scoring Vaughn. A two-out Yoan Moncada walk loaded the bases, bringing up Jose Abreu; his two-run single made it 4-0 Chicago.
Fulmer seemed to right himself in the next frame; a nasty slider got him out of trouble, and got him a strikeout of Tim Anderson. Personally, I would love to see Fulmer being worked back into the rotation (and I imagine this is what Fulmer himself also wants), but… I gotta say, it’s pretty intriguing to have Fulmer coming out of the ‘pen as a multi-inning, shut-’em-down kind of guy every few days. Or, maybe make him a 1970s-style, 2-inning-save kind of guy, three times a week, Rollie Fingers-style? Maybe with a Rollie Fingers-style handlebar moustache?
Buck Farmer took over in the fourth; Moncada singled, a passed ball got him to second and a groundout got him to third, but Yermin Mercedes flew out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, what was Dylan Cease doing? Oh, just mowing the Tigers down, no big deal, including the last 17 in a row.
The Tiger relief pitchers kept on coming, and next up was Derek Holland, owner of a 10.13 ERA: walk, double, single, single, showers. Your turn, Mr. Lange: strikeout (woo!), single (ugh), homer, lineout, homer, groundout (thank heavens). Now it’s 11-0, and this writer was begging for mercy.
The phrase “hit parade” came to mind, so I entered that phrase into the image search on the archives to which we have access on here, and this fun picture came up:
Apparently there was a German TV show called “Hitparade,” and this was from their 10th anniversary show. The more you know, right?
Tyler Alexander was the next one into the meat grinder, taking over in the sixth. What do you know, he struck out three (allowing an infield single in the middle, so no, he did not “strike out the side”).
In conclusion, the Tigers were shut out for the fourth time in the last 13 games.
Maybe Let’s Hold Off on the Robot Umps for Now
Pitch #4 to Tim Anderson, strike three looking. This was a case of, “It’s a 6-0 game, second of a doubleheader, let’s all get the heck outta here as fast as we can.” As the recapper of said doubleheader, I can’t disagree.
Old Friend Alert
The Minors are Coming! The Minors are Coming!
If you’re excited about the minor leagues existing this year, you’re not alone.
Minor League rosters are out. Just kissed my wife and kids goodbye for the summer.
— Detroit Tigers Minor League Tracker (@Tiger_Lifer) April 29, 2021
Matt Manning will get the Opening Day start in Toledo, in case you’re interested.
The 27th Man
As per MLB rules, for a doubleheader, the number of players increases by exactly one.
The Tigers have appointed OF Derek Hill as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader. He will be active for both games.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) April 29, 2021
Being active is very important these days. Also: if you catch that lyrical reference I made above, you certainly enjoy some deep cuts from the late ‘80s.
Assorted things of note
- Carlos Rodón suffered from bursitis in his left elbow back in 2017. Every mention of said ailment, without fail, reminds me of this scene in one of the most hilariously ridiculous movies of all time.
- Coming into today, in his previous 10 games, Akil Baddoo was hitting .143/.167/.343 for an OPS of .510. Oof.
- The month of April will likely end as the lowest batting average month since 1968. To wit, AL hitters are currently hitting .233; NL hitters are batting .231.
- I got my first dose of vaccine today. Hooray! If you’re keeping score at home, it was the Oxford/AstraZeneca one. I’m told there might be a little arm pain and fever in the next day or so. I should carry a bottle of Tylenol in a holster for the next little while.
- Happy Lee Elia Rantiversary, everyone.
- Today would have been Duke Ellington’s 122nd birthday. Duke’s real full name? “Edward Kennedy Ellington.” Neat.