Walks hurt Tarik Skubal, comeback fails in Detroit Tigers’ 4-3 loss to San Francisco Giants

Detroit Free Press

Walks haunted Tarik Skubal throughout, especially at the beginning and the end. He pitched into the fifth inning and struck out five batters, but his four walks stood out above all else.

The 25-year-old has given up 18 runs over 18⅓ innings in his past four starts, for a 8.84 ERA. He posted a 2.33 ERA in his first 11 starts and was the frontrunner to represent the Detroit Tigers at the All-Star Game in July.

Skubal survived a two-walk third inning, but the San Francisco Giants scored on walks in the first and fifth innings. The Tigers rallied late but lost, 4-3, in Tuesday’s two-game series opener at Oracle Park.

“He’s carrying one pitch to the next pitch, and that’s not his M.O. usually,” manager A.J. Hinch told reporters in San Francisco. “He getting frustrated with himself when he doesn’t execute. The at-bats that are getting longer and longer, he’s got to collect himself a little bit better and stay in grind mode until he can figure some things out.”

JEFF SEIDEL: How MLB lockout helped Tigers prospect Reese Olson become a strikeout king

After seven of eight games on the road trip, the Tigers (28-45) have five losses despite winning two of three against the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend. They were swept by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park before traveling to Phoenix.

The Tigers scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The offense produced three runs on 10 hits, four walks and seven strikeouts, and finished 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

A bit of offense

In the sixth inning, Robbie Grossman doubled off Giants left-hander Carlos Rodón, who carved up the Tigers last season in three starts for the Chicago White Sox: 2.25 ERA with five walks and 27 strikeouts.

A wild pitch advanced Grossman to third base.

Miguel Cabrera bounced the ball into right field for his 3,056th career hit and an RBI single for the Tigers’ first run, cutting the Giants lead to 4-1. With that single, Cabrera passed Rickey Henderson for 26th on MLB’s all-time hits list.

“It’s pretty amazing the names he’s among,” Hinch said.

Cabrera went 2-for-4 and is hitting .300 in 62 games this season. Rookie center fielder Riley Greene finished 2-for-3 with a single, double and walk. The fourth-inning double marked first extra-base hit of his career.

“Mentally, he’s in a really good place,” Hinch said of Greene. “He’s just taking it at-bat to at-bat and doing his best to fend off some big-league pitching that he’s never seen before. Not going to see a lot of lefties better than Carlos Rodón, and he hung in there. … He walks up there with a pretty good plan and is executing at a pretty decent level. It’s why we love him.”

[ Austin Meadows suffers latest injuries: Left and right Achilles strains ]

After Greene’s double, fellow rookie Spencer Torkelson stranded him on a flyout to center field. In the sixth, Greene followed up Cabrera’s single with a single of his own. Once again, Torkelson stranded him. This time, he struck out swinging on Rodón’s fourth-pitch slider.

Rodon allowed one run on seven hits in six innings, without a walk. He cruised past the Tigers with only seven swings and misses — four four-seam fastballs and three siders — but 19 called strikes.

“We didn’t really get a ton of opportunities,” Hinch said. “We missed one or two against him, and that’s hard to do against a good pitcher like that.”

The Tigers faced right-handed reliever John Brebbia in the seventh inning. Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario drilled back-to-back doubles, with Candelario driving in Castro for a 4-2 deficit.

The next three batters, including pinch-hitter Harold Castro (for Tucker Barnhart), were retired, stranding Candelario at second base. Grossman struck out swinging and squandered the Tigers’ chance for another run.

A seven-pitch walk, the Tigers’ first free pass of the game, put Greene on base with two outs in the eighth inning. A four-pitch walk added Torkelson to the bases for Willi Castro. He drilled an RBI single — trimming the Giants’ lead to 4-3 — against righty reliever Dominic Leone. Candelario chipped in another walk to load the bases for Jonathan Schoop.

The Giants countered with righty Camilo Doval.

TRADE WINDS: How Tigers can use trade deadline to bolster future

Schoop struck out swinging on a slider.

“Any time you face (Doval), it’s hard,” Hinch said. “That’s why he’s at the back end, and he’s tough. You just got to try to get one pitch to hit, and he did. He missed it. He fouled it back. Then, you’re going to have to deal with either the cutter or the slider. It’s tough on right-handed hitters.”

In the ninth, Robbie Grossman drew a one-out walk, but Javier Báez grounded into a game-ending double play. Báez finished 1-for-5 with one strikeout. He hit a single off the right-field wall in the fourth inning but was thrown out on his way to second base.

“We just hung in there a little bit and put some pressure on their bullpen,” Hinch said. “And then, they won the big at-bats. It’s tough to chip away and not get rewarded for it, but I did like our effort.”

The long walk home

Skubal allowed three runs on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 4⅔ innings, throwing 66 of 108 pitches for strikes. He posted 13 swings and misses and 22 called strikes.

For the 13 whiffs, Skubal earned them on eight four-seam fastballs, three sliders, one two-seam fastball and one changeup. He got seven called strikes on both his four-seamer and slider.

“He’s got to be able to get past and not carry the burden of anything that’s in the rear view mirror,” Hinch said. “There’s nothing he can do now about starts that were 10 days ago, 15-20 days ago.

“Tonight, I think he can go to a few pitches that he executed very well and also some at-bats where the walks hurt him. Any time they had a good inning, it’s because a walk was mixed in there somewhere.”

Wilmer Flores, the second batter of the game, drew a six pitch walk and moved into scoring position on Joc Pederson’s double. Evan Longoria singled to score both Flores and Pederson for a 2-0 lead.

The Giants (40-33) drove in two more runs in the fifth. Only one of them was charged to Skubal, but he surely felt responsible for both. With two outs, he walked Darin Ruf on five pitches.

Right-handed reliever Wily Peralta replaced Skubal.

Peralta got ahead 1-2 in the count to Longoria, who kept the inning alive with a single. A wild pitch pushed Ruf to third base and Longoria to second base. Mike Yastrzemski plated both with a single to center field for a 4-0 advantage.

For his 86 pitches, Skubal fired 36 four-seam fastballs (33%), 32 sliders (30%), 21 two-seamers (19%), 10 changeups (9%) and curveballs (8%). The Giants averaged an 88.3 mph exit velocity.

Left-hander Andrew Chafin and righty Joe Jimenez tossed scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Jimenez had one strikeout, ending his streak of striking out multiple batters at eight appearances in a row.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

Articles You May Like

Detroit Tigers neglect offense at MLB trade deadline, adding to pressure of offseason
Managing knee pain, Miggy to reduce workload
Twins 4, Tigers 1: Joe Ryan is Nolan Ryan?
Sweet Lou’s No. 1 joins Tigers greats on outfield wall
‘It bothers me a lot’: Tigers give Rays extra lives, fall in series opener, 6-2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.