Sunday was Funday at Comerica Park as the Tigers completed the sweep against the Baltimore Orioles with a 5-1 win, earning their first sweep of the 2022 season. Tarik Skubal started for Detroit and added one of the best outings to his burgeoning career. The offense, in typical fashion, did not light up the scoreboard, but were able to scratch across five runs which proved to be more than enough as the pitchers stifled the Baltimore offense as they have all series.
The story of the day was the unconditional dominance by Tarik Skubal. Skubal came into the game with the 11th best ERA in the American League, and left the game even higher on the list.
The hard-throwing lefty struck out five of the first six batters he faced and finished with 11 strikeouts, tying a career high. He had a very nice strike to ball ratio, throwing 69 of his 100 pitches for strikes. He also got to two strikes in 20 at bats, toying with with hitters all afternoon. In his final inning of work, he walked back-to-back batters, the only free passes he issued all day, but was allowed to work out of the jam and complete six innings of shutout baseball while allowing only three hits.
Miguel Cabrera continued his hot hitting by leading off the second inning with a mammoth blast to left-center field, a 412-foot moonshot off a high fastball from Orioles starter Tyler Wells that harkened back to vintage Miggy. Following Cabrera’s blast, Victor Reyes, fresh off the injured list, pulled a double down the right field line, but pulled up rounding second with an apparent re-aggravation of his left quad injury. Injuries are always a bummer, but for a guy like Reyes who has swung the bat well during his few at bats in 2022, it has to be even more frustrating. Derek Hill came in to pinch run, and after swiping third base, scored on a Harold Castro single into center field to put the Tigers up 2-0.
In the bottom half of the third, Javier Báez snapped out of his slump with an opposite field double on a line drive to the right field corner. Willi Castro, who didn’t start the game but entered as a defensive replacement for an apparently still-ill Austin Meadows, moved Báez over to third with a well-placed infield single. Miggy being Miggy followed by doing his gosh-darn job: driving in the runner from third. It wasn’t as sexy as a home run, but his fly ball to center field was more than enough to score a tagging Baez from third to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.
Hittin’ Harold Castro lived up to his name in the seventh inning by leading off with a triple into the right field corner. After a Spencer Torkelson walk, Tucker Barnhart came through with an RBI single to push the lead to 4-0. Sadly, the Tigers weren’t able to take advantage of having two-on, none-out, as Robbie Grossman would strikeout and then Baez would ground into a double play.
In the eighth, the Tigers loaded the bases with one out, setting the table for Harold Castro to once again put his hitting shoes on. Castro was able to lace a ground ball through the right side of the infield to score a run, but once again the Tigers weren’t able to add on. Winning the game is the priority, but if the Tigers expect to win against better opponents, the hitters are going to need to get much better in situations with runners in scoring position.
Skubal set the tone and once again the bullpen followed suit. Jacob Barnes came on in the seventh inning after his first rough outing of the year on Friday night. Barnes made quick work of the Baltimore hitters by working a one-two-three inning with two strikeouts. Rony García came on in the eighth with his own one-two-three inning with two strikeouts, including the fourth of the day for Orioles All Star Cedric Mullins. It wasn’t until the ninth inning that the Orioles were able to get on the board courtesy of a solo-shot from Trey Mancini. García rebounded though, getting the next three hitters in order to seal the victory.
The Tigers will head down to St. Pete’s on Monday for a three game series against the Tampa Bay Rays where rookie pitcher Alex Faedo will make the start. Faedo is from Tampa where he played at Braulio Alonso High School before pitching at University of Florida.