CHICAGO — The boos rained down from White Sox fans at Guaranteed Rate Field after Wily Peralta’s second-inning fastball hit César Hernández on his right elbow Friday night, four days after the Tigers and Sox cleared the benches at Comerica Park. This time, there was no reaction, no belief there was intent against a second baseman who hadn’t been hit by a pitch all season.
For all the questions of lingering tensions between two longtime rivals Friday, the only reminders of Monday’s incident were a lengthy meeting at home plate among managers A.J. Hinch and Tony La Russa and the umpiring crew, plus the boos after the hit-by-pitch. While the White Sox focused their energies on the field, the Tigers searched fruitlessly for a spark in an 8-1 loss.
Though Detroit’s improvement this season has long since been demonstrated, Friday’s loss continued a late fade, having lost six of its last eight. Friday’s loss, combined with a Cleveland win at Texas, eliminated any possibility of the Tigers finishing second in the AL Central.
The Tigers’ recent losses against the White Sox, Twins and Royals continued an underlying trend to an otherwise encouraging season. While Detroit made a statement with strong play and series wins over contending teams such as the Rays, Blue Jays, Yankees, Mariners, Astros, Cardinals and Brewers, the Tigers have fallen to 29-45 within their division, having lost the season series to every AL Central rival for the third time in five years.