Detroit – The numbers on this night were big, gaudy, some historic, and lopsided in favor of the Tigers, who put a freefalling Texas Rangers team to rout at Comerica Park Monday, 14-0.
“We did a lot of things to put pressure on them,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We kept taking what the game gave us and continued to pile on. It was a big night for us. I’ve been on both sides of these kinds of games, this side is a lot more fun.”
14 — most runs scored by the Tigers since 2020.
7 — most runs scored in an inning (the sixth) since 2017.
9 — straight batters reached with either a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch in the sixth inning, hasn’t happened since 2001.
2,930 and 2,931 — career hits reached by Miguel Cabrera passing Rogers Hornsby on the all-time list.
0 — runs scored by the Rangers in their last three games, first time in franchise history they’ve been shutout in three straight games.
6 — Rangers losing streak
35-27 — Tigers record since May 8.
And one last one — 4.
That’s the number of shutout innings Tigers starter Casey Mize pitched Monday before he was taken out. Something he begrudgingly understands, but hates.
“I’m on board with it,” he said. “But just as a competitor, I want to pitch as many innings as I can.”
Doing the right thing stinks sometimes. Mize was brilliant in his four innings. He allowed just one single and struck out two. He raced through 13 hitters in 54 pitches and left with a 2-0 lead.
But the Tigers have limited his innings the last three straight starts, hoping to ration innings so he can stay in the rotation through the end of the season and not have to be fully shut down.
After throwing just 28 innings in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Mize is already at 99 1/3 innings after Monday.
“Our handling of our young pitching is going to be done with what we think is in the best interest of every pitcher,” Hinch said. “It doesn’t make sense to me to respond to anything else that’s going on. We’re trying to develop a player plan for very important players this year and into the future.
“We’re going to reach some uncharted waters for the guys who haven’t pitched a full season.”
Hinch said the governor will gradually start coming off Mize, possibly beginning with his next start — as he builds back up to where the only restriction will be his performance.
Rookie Tarik Skubal will go through a similar rationing plan soon. Rookie Matt Manning was eased into the season and likely won’t need to have his innings limited.
“These guys have to pitch fatigued and the only way you learn it is by experiencing it,” Hinch said. “They can’t learn it by telling them, they have to live it. If we get to where we’re playing into October, that’s another 40-50 innings on top of it.
“We’re trying to be very proactive in this. We’re trying to make them uncomfortable and doing something you haven’t done before can be physically uncomfortable and mentally grueling.”
Physically uncomfortable and mentally grueling might have been exactly how the Rangers felt. They’ve been outscored 29-0 in the last two days.
“Miggy’s base hits with the bases loaded, that was a big swing against one of the better pitchers in the American League,” Hinch said of Rangers’ All-Star right-hander Kyle Gibson, who had a group of scouts watching him ahead of the trade deadline.
“Any time you can pile up runs against a quality pitcher like Gibson, it’s going to relax the entire dugout and make you feel like you are in control of the game.”
Gibson, who was tagged for the first eight runs, now has two losses, both administered by the Tigers within the span of two weeks.
Victor Reyes, in his first start since returning from Triple-A Toledo, had four hits. Isaac Paredes, who left the game with a sore hip, had three hits. Five other Tigers had two hits.
But Cabrera and rookie Akil Baddoo did the big damage, with five and four runs batted in, respectively.
Baddoo got it started with a two-run home run to right field in the third inning before the Tigers the game open with 11 runs over the fifth and sixth innings.
The four-run fifth was highlighted by Cabrera’s three-run double. It was his 2,930th career hit and very nearly his first triple since May 17, 2016.
The official ruling was Cabrera advanced to third on the throw home.
Cabrera added a two-run single in the sixth.
“These are big moments for Miggy, for our team, our organization and our fan base,” Hinch said. “He’s given so much to this franchise and he continues to remind us in different ways that we’re seeing something pretty special.”
Baddoo continues to be a marvel, as well. He had a homer, single and a walk, and in his last 13 games he’s 17 for 56 (.303). His walk helped set the table for Cabrera in the fifth. He fell behind 0-2, looking bad on back-to-back change-ups. But he stayed in the at-bat, took a couple close pitches and worked a walk.
He came to bat with the bases loaded in the sixth and again fell into a two-strike count. This time against lefty reliever Brett Martin, he poked a two-run single up the middle.
The only negative on the night was the loss of catcher Jake Rogers.
Rogers was scratched before the game after he complained of a sore right arm in warmups. Tests revealed that he has a strained pronator and will be out as long as three weeks.
“It’s a somewhat common injury, especially for catchers,” Hinch said. “It’s probably the best possible thing. When you talk arm injuries, you worry more about the forearm or the elbow.”
Grayson Greiner, who was hastily called up from Toledo and arrived after the game had started Monday, and Eric Haase will handle the catching duties.