Detroit Tigers pitch two position players in 15-2 loss to Chicago White Sox

Detroit Free Press

With a bullpen-only game Sunday, the Detroit Tigers forced themselves to make a call to Triple-A Toledo for pitching reinforcements.

The Tigers (26-38) sent five pitchers and two position players to the mound during Saturday’s 15-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox in the second of a three-game series. Detroit has dropped 16 of its past 18 games against Chicago, dating back to last season.

After the game, reliever Beau Burrows was optioned to Toledo. A corresponding move will be made Sunday.

“I want to get to tomorrow and get a fresh start,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “It was an ugly day from the beginning. We bounced back in the bottom of the first, which was a good sign, and then we couldn’t sustain anything on the mound, didn’t really threaten with the bat. It was a bad day and an ugly day. We took a beating.”

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The seven pitchers combined for 223 pitches, allowing 15 runs on 13 hits and 11 walks. The Tigers decided to give Matthew Boyd — initially lined up to pitch Sunday — an extra day to rest, so he will pitch Monday against the Kansas City Royals.

Meanwhile, the White Sox needed just three arms to win Saturday’s game, beginning with starter Dylan Cease. Left-hander Carlos Rodon, a traditional starting pitcher, is lined up for Sunday. He boasts a 5-2 record, 1.96 ERA, 15 walks and 88 strikeouts this season, along with a no-hitter.

The Tigers made one error Saturday, catcher Eric Haase allowed two passed balls and the offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Burrows departed in the fifth inning after vomiting on the pitcher’s mound. His replacement, Alex Lange, threw 13 consecutive balls.

“He threw up a couple times,” Hinch said about Burrows. “He said he was feeling sick, a little lightheaded. We immediately took him out. He had a little bit of a heat issue, had thrown a lot of pitches that inning. The nauseousness was going to take him out of the game right away.”

Catcher Jake Rogers pitched the eighth inning and moved to third base for the ninth. That’s when Harold Castro took over on the mound. He went three up, three down to keep his career 0.00 ERA intact through two innings.

Jose Urena struggles

The Tigers sent Jose Urena to the mound, and he was rocked from the beginning. He didn’t record an out until the sixth batter of the game, when he struck out Adam Eaton swinging with a changeup.

Back-to-back doubles from Tim Anderson and Brian Goodwin, a hit batter, a fielding error by shortstop Isaac Paredes (to load the bases) and a Yermin Mercedes two-run single put the White Sox ahead 3-0 in the first inning. Urena escaped further damage by retiring Eaton, Jake Lamb and Leury Garcia in order.

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Urena walked Mendick to open the second and allowed a single Anderson. Then, Goodwin gave the White Sox a 6-2 lead with a three-run homer. He retired the next two batters, Jose Abreu and Mercedes, but walked Eaton with two outs. 

Hinch removed Urena after 58 pitches (32 strikes), replacing him with lefty reliever Daniel Norris.

“I just don’t think he had anything,” Hinch said. “He was a little sluggish more than anything. We checked on him to see if he felt anything from the previous injury. He said, ‘No.’ I just think he didn’t have it and didn’t feel great from a body standpoint, slugging and out of whack.”

Norris walked his first batter, gave up a two-run single to Garcia and walked Mendick — it was the second time Mendick drew a walk in the second inning — before Anderson lined out. The two runs from Garcia’s single were charged to Urena.

Urena allowed eight runs (seven earned runs) on five hits and three walks, with one strikeout, across 1⅔ innings.

Dylan Cease deals

In the bottom of the first inning, the Tigers pulled within one run because of Castro’s rare power. He followed a Robbie Grossman walk with a two-run blast to right-center field, tagging a first-pitch fastball from Cease.

Castro recorded his second extra-base hit and first home run this season, along with his first long ball since 2019. After Castro’s at-bat, Cease carved up the Tigers for the third time in 2021.

As the White Sox piled on runs, Cease posted zeros on the scoreboard.

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Cease allowed two runs on four hits and one walk across five innings. He struck out seven, throwing 52 of 82 pitches for strikes. He could have pitched deeper into the game, but there wasn’t a reason for the White Sox to waste his innings.

Facing the Tigers this season, Cease has been elite. He pitched seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts April 27 for a complete-game shutout in a doubleheader. He also fired seven scoreless innings June 6 — his last start — with 10 strikeouts.

Cease owns an 8-0 record against the Tigers in his three-year MLB career, which includes 14 total wins.

The bullpen

Once Urena was chased, the results didn’t improve.

Norris pitched 1⅓ scoreless innings, but he allowed two hits and two walks. He threw 15 of 28 pitches for strikes and logged an inning-ending double play in the third. Burrows, who departed early because of sickness, allowed four runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out three in 1⅔ innings — his first MLB appearance this season — and tossed 27 of 50 pitches for strikes.

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Jason Foley pitched a scoreless seventh inning but allowed one hit. He threw 14 of 22 pitches for strikes. The first six pitchers, including Rogers, each allowed at least one baserunner.

For Sunday’s game, right-hander Kyle Funkhouser is starting.

“Obviously, I wasn’t planning on using a couple of the guys that I used today,” Hinch said. “Ended up using two position players to save a few guys for tomorrow. We’re going to start Funkhouser to start the game. It’ll be a bullpen game. He’ll give us a few (innings). We’ve got other guys available, but that’s what we’re going to meet about.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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