The Tigers’ rookies played a big part in a convincing 6-3 victory in Arizona on Saturday night.
Both starters, Zack Davies for the Diamondbacks and Alex Faedo for Detroit, were on point early in the this one. Javy Báez reached base on an infield hit due to a poor throw from shortstop Geraldo Perdomo with two outs in the first, but was caught leaving first early with a 3-2 count on Miguel Cabrera and tagged out. Meanwhile, Alex Faedo punched out Josh Rojas, the first hitter he faced, and other than a walk to Ketel Marte with two outs, had no trouble in the first.
Harold Castro lined a single to left with one out in the second, but Daulton Varsho made a great play to haul in a screaming drive from Robbie Grossman, and Jeimer Candelario grounded out to second.
Faedo came out and struck out David Peralta whiffing at a fastball. The next two batters hit it hard, but Candelario speared a drive off Buddy Kennedy’s bat, and Varsho lined out to Riley Greene to end the second inning.
Tucker Barnhart reached on another Perdomo miscue in the third, but the Tigers’ couldn’t make anything happen.
In the bottom of the inning, a development we’ve been watching for drew attention as Alex Faedo continued to pump a pretty easy looking 94-95 mph fourseamer. It’s easy to forget he’s just coming off Tommy John and both his velo and his fatigue level bear watching. The former may be developing as his arm strength increases from the work. The latter is harder to gauge, though manager A.J. Hinch has alluded to the heavy workload required from the right-hander so far. Initially, they would’ve liked to build him up slowly and manage his workload at Toledo, but the injuries made that impossible.
He tied up Perdomo with 94 and 95 up and in on the edge, then blew him away with 94 up and away. Jose Herrera singled to left, but Faedo got Rojas to ground out. Herrera was going on the 3-2 pitch to Rojas and Candelario, in the shortstop position, had to just take the out at first. It didn’t matter as Faedo got a soft tapper to his left, snared it and ran through the bag for the final out of the inning.
Báez spanked a single back through the box to open the fourth, and it was time for the offense to make a move. Miguel Cabrera took a tough strike three call on a fastball away, but Harold Castro delivered with a line drive into the right field corner for an RBI double. Varsho had a little trouble collecting it, and that error allowed Báez to score from first, while Castro took third.
Scoring of errors is just so silly, folks. It can’t be taken seriously. In the first, Perdomo collected Báez’s ground ball, took a long hesitation beat against a relatively fast base runner, and then rushed a hard throw that sailed up the line. That was ruled a single. Harold Castro smoked a ball that rattled around in the corner, and because Varsho dropped the ricocheting ball for a moment, he gets an error on a ball that was a clean double no matter what. Anyway…
That was all the Tigers would get as Grossman took a called third strike on the edge, and Candelario popped out. Zack Davies, throwing 89 mph with a good changeup and little else, was doing a pretty good Zack Greinke impression through four innings, but the Tigers had a slender 1-0 lead.
It didn’t last long.
Faedo didn’t have particularly good command of his slider in this one, and it finally bit him in the bottom of the fourth as he fell behind Christian Walker 2-0 with one out, missing with a pair of sliders. He came back with 95 mph and missed again. Walker whiffed on a 96 mph heater swinging 3-0, but Faedo slipped and missed again to put him on. The next hitter, David Peralta fouled off another first pitch slider, and then turned and smoked a hanger down the right field line for a two-run homer.
Faedo then walked Buddy Kennedy next and fell behind Varsho 2-0. The Diamondbacks’ right fielder got a fastball down the middle and rifled it to the wall in right field for an RBI double, and it was suddenly 3-1 Diamondbacks.
The Tigers fought right back to pick up their rookie starter in the fifth. Kody Clemens grounded out, but Tucker Barnhart walked, and Victor Reyes drilled a Davies fastball on the outer edge into the left field corner for a double that moved Barnhart to third. That brought Riley Greene to the dish.
Greene got a little jammed up on the label with a fastball, but squared it up right at second baseman Buddy Kennedy. The ball was more softly hit than its trajectory made it appear, and Greene’s bat shattered, with a large shard flying right out toward Kennedy, though it barely reached the infield dirt. Whatever the reason, Kennedy completely whiffed as the ball went right over his glove between his legs. Barnhart and Reyes raced around to score as Greene cruised into first. Báez and Cabrera popped out, which was unfortunate, but the game was tied 3-3.
A.J. Hinch turned to Tyler Alexander in the bottom half of the inning. Faedo finished with 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 SO. The command just wasn’t there tonight, and the Tigers would probably like to give him a bit of a break.
Alexander gave up some hard contact in the inning. Rojas lined out for the first out. Alek Thomas hit a ground ball that saw Báez range toward second base and make a throw that maybe short-hopped Harold Castro a bit but was pretty routine. The ball got away and Thomas was soon standing on second base. Ketel Marte followed with a rocket right at Báez’s ankles. The Tigers’ shortstop took the ball off the side of his glove up on the hand, and it popped straight up over his head. Báez stood and coolly caught it, and Marte was out in peculiar fashion. Seeing some hard contact, Hinch gave a rare intentional pass to Walker, and David Peralta grounded out sharply on a nice play by Castro at first. No hard done.
Reliever Joe Mantiply, formerly of the Tigers system, took the mound in the top of the sixth. The southpaw didn’t bother Castro, who drove his second hit of the night to right field for a single to lead off the inning. Grossman followed with a sharp single through the left side of the infield. Jeimer Candelario tied himself into knots in a three pitch strikeout, and that left it to Kody Clemens with one out. It was an interesting moment with two on and one out, in a tie game, with a lefty on the mound. Hinch had Torkelson, Schoop, and Haase all on the bench, but he stuck with Clemens and it paid off.
Clemens fell behind 1-2, and I was just beginning to think Hinch had screwed up, when Clemens turned on a hanging curveball and destroyed it to right field for his first major league home run. Pretty cool. 6-3 Tigers.
The kids weren’t done showing out either. The bottom of the sixth, with Alexander still on the mound, began with a spectacular Superman level catch from Riley Greene on a Buddy Kennedy drive. This was something else folks. The kids are alright.
Varsho grounded out to Báez, and Alexander punched Perdomo’s ticket again to finish the inning. Just look at this freaking catch now. It’s beautiful.
Miguel Cabrera singled with two outs in the seventh, tying Rod Carew on the all-time hits list at 3053, but otherwise it was uneventful. Joe Jiménez threw a strong seventh with a pair of strikeouts, while Riley Greene came through with a sliding catch on a soft fly ball off the bat of Josh Rojas for the second out of the inning.
The eighth saw little action on either side. The Tigers went 1-2-3, while Michael Fulmer allowed a soft leadoff single to center from Marte, but got back-to-back ground balls to Clemens at second base, the second of which Clemens and Báez converted into a double play, to end the inning quickly.
Veteran Mark Melancon took over for Arizona in the top of the ninth looking to keep his team in the game with a shot at a comeback. He got Barnhart to pop out, and Reyes then lined out to center field. Riley Greene battled through an interesting 9-pitch AB but eventually hit a soft one-hopper to Perdomo for the final out, and it was Gregory Soto time.
Soto was on tonight, freezing Kennedy and then blowing Varsho away. Jordan Luplow lifted a fly ball to right, and Victor Reyes squeezed it for the win and Soto’s 14th save.
With the series win secured, the Tigers send Beau Brieske (1-6, 4.07 ERA) to the mound at 4:10 p.m. EDT on Sunday looking for sweep.
The club has had some history of bad bullpens, eh?
Joe Jiménez has struck out multiple batters in eight consecutive appearances, tied for the third-longest streak by a Tigers reliever since 1901 and longest since Drew VerHagen, who also had eight straight outings with two-or-more strikeouts from August 11-25, 2019.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) June 26, 2022
.@MiguelCabrera‘s single in the 7th inning is the 3,053rd hit of his career, tying him with Rod Carew for 27th in MLB history.
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) June 26, 2022
So, Kerry Carpenter’s Triple-A debut went rather well, I’d say.
Just listen to this Ohtani shot in LA. Good grief. Brutal that he and Trout are stuck there in their primes.