Chicago — What’s worse than losing both ends of a doubleheader?
Potentially losing your No. 1 starter in the process.
Matthew Boyd, just three batters into the second inning of the nightcap, called head athletic trainer Doug Teter to the mound after throwing a ball to Leury Garcia. After a brief conversation, Boyd left the game. The Tigers, who were KO’d by the White Sox 11-0 in Game 2, said he left due to left knee tendinitis.
“He had some tendinitis-type feeling in his knee, in his back knee, so when he was pushing off, he could feel something abnormal,” manager AJ Hinch said. “It’s an immediate removal at that point because we don’t want him to compensate and do anything further.”
Hinch said Boyd will have more tests on the knee on Friday in New York and would know more about the severity of the injury at that point.
“We don’t have a choice but to move forward,” Hinch said. “Today sucked. Two losses, we get on a plane late and get to New York early in the morning and have another challenge in front of us.
“There wasn’t a lot of good to take out of today.”
The Tigers were stymied by White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon in the first seven-inning game. Rodon struck out a career-high 12 and bested rookie Casey Mize, 3-1.
After a 66-minute weather delay, it was right-hander Dylan Cease’s turn to shut down the Tigers. He pitched a complete game (seven innings) shutout in Game 2. The Tigers managed three singles, none after the second innings.
Boyd, who warmed up both before and after the weather delay, survived a laborious, 23-pitch first inning, striking out two and getting Yermin Mercedes to fly out to the track in right field to strand two runners.
In the second inning, though, he walked Yasmani Grandal and gave up a ringing double to Andrew Vaughn. He threw two pitches to Garcia and that was it.
Michael Fulmer was summoned cold from the bullpen — tough duty for a career starter who is finally fully healthy after major knee and elbow surgeries. But the move made sense, especially if Hinch needs Fulmer to take Boyd’s spot in the rotation.
“Just a freak thing,” Fulmer said. “Hope everything is good with Matty and he will be back soon. But there’s not much you can do. You take your time warming up. Take as many pitches as you need.
“My body was good. Everything felt good. I just have to be better execution-wise.”
The White Sox ended up scoring four runs in that third inning. Fulmer allowed run scoring singles to Garcia (on a ball that left the bat with an exit velocity of just 64 mph) and Nick Madrigal. With two outs, though, he walked Yoan Moncada and yielded a two-run single by Jose Abreu.
Fulmer ended up needing 47 pitches to work two innings. But he struck out three, including Tim Anderson twice, and his sinker was sitting at 96 mph and touching 98. Those are pre-surgery velocity numbers for Fulmer.
“Everything felt good, really good,” Fulmer said. “The body is adapting well to whatever role I’m in right now. I am happy to be pitching, but at the end of the day it’s about results and this wasn’t my day.”
The White Sox blew the doors off the game with a seven-run fifth inning. The first four game off Derek Holland, who allowed a walk and three hits — including a two-run single by Garcia — to the four batters he faced.
Alex Lange then got tagged for a three-run home run by Moncada and a cannon-shot solo blast by Mercedes. He hit a curveball into the second row of hedges in center field. The ball left his bat with an exit velocity of 110.8 mph and traveled 449 feet.
“It’s been rough,” Fulmer said. “The anger — I don’t want to say disappointment — it’s anger because we do expect better of ourselves as a pitching staff and as a team. We want to win every day and it’s not working out for us right now.
“It’s more of a frustration thing than a disappointment. Guys are getting a little fed up. But it’s still early in the season. There’s a lot of time to turn it around.”
In 14 innings of baseball Thursday night, the Tigers offense generated one run on five hits, four of them singles, with 22 strikeouts.
Detroit, 2-12 in the last 14 games, is now 8-23 against the White Sox since the start of 2019.
The Tigers have left-hander Ian Krol and right-hander Kyle Funkhouser with them on the taxi squad, if they need a quick roster replacement for Boyd.