DETROIT — As with any rookie, Tarik Skubal’s first season has been one of small tweaks, big triumphs, lessons learned and everything in between.
Sunday brought a little bit of everything with it as he one-hit the Astros through a career-best seven innings to set the stage for Robbie Grossman’s wild, game-winning squeeze bunt during the Tigers’ 2-1, 10-inning win at Comerica Park.
Just 24 games into his MLB career, Skubal has already long since established himself as a strikeout pitcher. Using a combination of high-90s heat and a smart offspeed mix, his 85 punchouts on the season is tied for third among all rookies. While efficiency is something the Tigers would like to see improve so Skubal can venture deeper into games, it’s hard to argue with the results he’s shown so far.
That Skubal collected nine K’s against red-hot Houston on Sunday was impressive, but even more so than the total was the variety of ways he disposed of the Astros: While all nine strikeouts were swinging, Skubal rang up four on four-seamers, two using his slider, and one each on his changeup, curve and sinker.