Cleveland — Then there were none.
Tarik Skubal, the last uninjured member of the Tigers’ original starting rotation, limped off the field after pitching five scoreless innings in Detroit’s 6-1 loss to the Guardians of Cleveland Friday night at Progressive Field.
He was drilled in the lower part of his left leg with a line drive struck with an exit velocity of 104 mph by left fielder Ernie Clement. The third out of the fifth inning was made off the carom and when Skubal finally got back to the dugout, he signaled to acting manager George Lombard that he was done.
It’s been a ruinous run of bad fortune for the Tigers, and most of it centered on the starting rotation. If Skubal has to be shut down, he will join starters Eduardo Rodriguez (expected to go on the IL Sunday with soreness in his left side), Michael Pineda (finger), Matt Manning (shoulder), Tyler Alexander (elbow) and Casey Mize (elbow).
Spencer Turnbull, remember, has been out all year recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Before leaving, Skubal had shut the Guardians out over five innings, raising his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 19. The longest scoreless streak by a starting pitcher in the big leagues this season is 20. He’d allowed four hits.
Right-hander Jacob Barnes took over a 0-0 game in the sixth and in four pitches gave up four runs.
On successive pitches, Austin Hedges doubled, Myles Straw and Amed Rosario singled and Jose Ramirez hit a three-run home run.
Cleveland tacked on two more runs against reliever Jason Foley in the eighth — back-to-back opposite-field doubles by right-handed hitters Myles Straw and Amed Rosario.
Brutal turn of events for the Tigers, who have lost three straight.
Their frustration started before Skubal left, though.
The Tigers came into the game as the lowest run-producing team in baseball (2.81 runs per game). But they were facing against Guardians right-hander Aaron Civale, who had yielded more earned runs (27) than any pitcher in baseball.
You figured something might give. Nope.
Civale, who is now 7-0 in his career against the Tigers, shut them out for six innings, allowing two hits.
Civale left the game with one out and two on in the seventh. He was grabbing at the back of his left leg. He misplayed a ball by Jeimer Candelario and fell awkwardly as he tried to shuffle the ball to first base with his glove.
The Guardians announced it was a cramp in his glute.
Spencer Torkelson, who had doubled in the second inning, hit a sacrifice fly to knock in the Tigers’ run.
The game was managed by bench coaches. For Cleveland, DeMarlo Hale stepped in for Terry Francona who had a minor medical procedure done on Friday. For Detroit, Lombard stepped in for AJ Hinch, who was ill (non-COVID) and went back to the hotel.