Rangers 7, Tigers 0: Yet another shutout

Bless You Boys

My plans for this evening originally included enjoying a couple of beverages, listening to the first four Dire Straits records in order, and not a whole lot else. But since we needed a recapper for tonight, I thought I’d pick it up. Who knows, maybe the boys would turn their luck around on this one.

Alas, Tarik Skubal was a little shaky, the bats continued their slumber, and the defence was nowhere near top form as the Tigers dropped the second game of the series 7-0 to Texas.

Skubal’s previous outing didn’t go too well. It was also the only start, other than his first of the year, in which he didn’t complete at least five innings. Coming into tonight he’d given up a home run in each of his previous two starts; normally this wouldn’t be much to talk about (especially given his 2021 penchant for giving up the long ball), but this has doubled his season total. The Tiger faithful was no doubt hoping that he’d get back on track in those regards; I know I was.

Facing Skubal tonight was Jon Gray, who spent the first seven years of his career in the rarefied air of Colorado. Gray’s numbers this year don’t outwardly look great (1-3 record, 4.85 ERA coming into tonight), but since his FIP is 3.64, that means he’s been a bit unlucky so far. He strikes out about a batter an inning and has given up about a home run per nine innings this year (a bit down from his Colorado numbers, unsurprisingly), but his walks per nine innings are up pretty drastically. Maybe it’s because pitches actually move in the air down here, and for him they’re moving right out of the strike zone.

Skubal got off on the wrong foot with the Rangers as a walk, single and double scored the first Texas run after three batters. Jonah Heim promptly made it a 3-0 lead with a double down the left-field line, and things were looking ugly early on. The Rangers were attacking everything on the inside corner and being very aggressive overall. Would Skubal be able to right the ship, as he’s done in the past?

After a calm second inning, the good swings continued in the third; a two-out Nathaniel Lowe double pushed home another run, making it 4-0. Later, in the fifth, Heim struck again with a solo home run, pushing the Texas lead to 5-0. Meanwhile, Tiger hitters were becoming experts in the soft groundout and the easy pop-up.

Skubal was done after five innings: eight hits, five runs (all earned but one really should’ve been unearned), four strikeouts and, uncharacteristically, two walks.

Will Vest picked up where Skubal left off, and gave up a pair of runs in the sixth; Tyler Alexander came on with two outs and the bases loaded and managed to get the third out with one pitch. I’m starting to think the bullpen, despite a Herculean effort over the last couple of months, is wearing out a bit, folks.

And now, here’s a nice catch made by Willi Castro in center, to try to help you through this thing.

Gray, meanwhile, sailed pretty easily through the Tigers for the first six innings; the closest the Tigers got to scoring against him early on was in the first inning when Victor Reyes got thrown out trying to advance to third on a Miguel Cabrera single.

In the seventh, an opposite-field single by Javier Báez in the seventh inning put two runners on with one out. But then Robbie Grossman struck out and Jonathan Schoop flew out softly to center, and that was that for the inning, and for Gray’s outing.

Marcus Semien, who’d just moved from second base to shortstop, made a sensational play to throw out Spencer Torkelson in the eighth. This’ll make the highlights on the 11:00 news. I tried finding a clip of it on Twitter, but a search for “Semien” didn’t turn one up. I did, however, find this enchanting view of a mountain valley in northern Ethiopia. Enjoy.

Alexander carried on and pitched the eighth, and Joe Jiménez pitched a clean ninth. The offense did nothing.

Tomorrow’s game features the debut of Riley Greene, and Rony Garcia and the Bullpen against Taylor Hearn.

Negro Leagues Weekend Festivities

The Tigers weren’t wearing their Detroit Stars uniforms tonight, but it’s a weekend full of ceremonies and commemorations at Comerica Park.

If I ever get out to Kansas City, I really need to go to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Notes and Such

  • In case you missed it, and you didn’t, Riley Greene’s debut will be on Saturday.
  • Old friend Cecil Fielder joined the TV guys in the booth. Did you know he once hit a home run clear over a mountain, and ate an entire wedding cake all in one sitting? I read it on the internet, so it’s true.
  • On this day in 1930, US president Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law. Not only was this a solid piece of legislation, it provided fodder for one of the most iconic scenes in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Ben Stein’s economics teacher character was trying to teach Bueller’s class about said act on the day he took off.

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