PITTSBURGH — The velocity with which Tarik Skubal fired his glove off the dugout wall might have rivaled his hardest fastball during the 28-pitch opening inning that preceded his rare flash of anger Monday afternoon at PNC Park. It was an emotion that continued in the Tigers’ 6-3 loss to the Pirates.
This was a game for the Tigers to take, and they nearly did, rallying ahead with a three-run sixth inning. But allowing a four-run seventh inning to a struggling Pirates squad, built around three singles and two walks, cost Detroit a chance to build on the momentum from its weekend series in Cincinnati.
Like fellow rookie hurler and good friend Casey Mize, Skubal knows his innings are limited for the stretch run. And Monday’s first frame against the Pirates was a rough one, from Kevin Newman’s two-run homer to the Yoshi Tsutusgo comebacker Skubal took off his right wrist with an ill-advised attempt at a behind-the-back catch.
Skubal yielded hits to four of Pittsburgh’s first five batters, then retired the final eight Pirates he faced, striking out four of them. It was an example of Skubal’s progress with making adjustments in the middle of an inning.