Michael Pineda got absolutely clobbered by the Guardians, and this one was over before the second inning came to an end as the Tigers lost 10-0. They’ve now lost 8 of 9 since their six-game winning streak.
The story of the whole game played out in the first inning. Riley Greene smacked a solid single from the leadoff spot against Cal Quantrill. Javier Báez bounced back to Quantrill, who made a nice play to get Greene at second. Miguel Cabrera flew out, but Harold Castro singled through the left side and Eric Haase walked to load the bases with two outs. Jonathan Schoop couldn’t start this one off right but instead grounded out to end the inning. The Tigers were never really in it after that.
Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario reached on ground ball singles against Pineda, and that brought up Jose Ramirez. Pineda missed with his first pitch and saw the second one get destroyed for a three-run shot to right field. Eight pitches into the game and the Tigers were down 3-0.
But wait, there’s more. Much more.
Pineda got a pair of ground balls and a fly-out to escape any further trouble, but the Tigers went quickly, 1-2-3 in the top of the second. Nolan Jones and Luke Maile opened the bottom of the second with singles, and Myles Straw doubled to right to score Jones. Kwan popped out on a nice play by Harold Castro, playing third, running out into foul territory. But Amed Rosario followed with another double to left, scoring Maile and Straw. 6-0 Cleveland.
The Guardians were simply taking batting practice. Pineda had nothing for them. With Jose Ramirez again coming to the plate with runners on base and only one out, Chris Fetter came out to try and settle Pineda down. Even Fetter couldn’t help him, as Pineda tried to drop in a changeup in a 1-1 count on the outer edge, and left it up. Ramirez crushed that one as well, collecting his second homer of the game. All three pitches to him were on the outer edge, which is generally where you pitch him in a jam, but you also can’t set up in the same spot three pitches in a row. We’ll ding Eric Haase on that one as well as Pineda.
The big right-hander was able to get out of the inning with no further trouble, but possibly that was because this wasn’t so much a contest as an exhibition by this point. All this in just 47 pitches, 37 of which were strikes.
The Tigers got a Miguel Cabrera single and no more as the top of the lineup faced Quantrill in the top of the third. Despite needing the innings, A.J. Hinch pulled Pineda in favor of Angel De Jesus. The right-hander reliever walked Maile but got three routine outs in the inning to staunch the bleeding.
Eric Haase led off the fourth with a single, but Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play. Robbie Grossman drew a walk, but Spencer Torkelson fouled off three pitches in the zone and then bit on a cutter in the dirt to end the inning.
De Jesus got Rosario and Ramirez on soft contact in the air to open the bottom of the fourth, but even then Josh Naylor smoked a solo shot to make it 9-0. I really hope you weren’t wasting a Saturday on this game. The right-hander hit Andres Gimenez with a slider, and then gave up a two-out single to Franmil Reyes as well which moved Gimenez to third. Nolan Jones singled him home and it was 10-0 Guardians.
De Jesus hit Maile, his second of the inning, and Hinch brought in Will Vest who retired Myles Straw to end the inning. The Tigers did nothing in the fifth, while Vest struck out both Kwan and Ramirez in a clean inning.
As for Cal Quantrill, well he was having a lot of fun out there. Cabrera flew out to start the sixth, and the right-hander then punched out Harold Castro and Eric Haase for his fourth and fifth strikeouts on the day. It took him 100 pitches, but after escaping the jam in a long first inning, he had a big lead, threw a lot of strikes, and just cruised.
At this point, both teams appeared to agree to speed things up. Joe Jiménez cruised through the bottom of the sixth with a pair of strikeouts. Nick Sandlin struck out Schoop and Torkelson in the top of the seventh in a quick inning. Jason Foley got three quick outs in the bottom half. It’s whatever at this point.
Terry Francona even broke out James Karinchak with a 10-run lead in the top of the eighth. Guess he was hungry for Tiger. He punched out Baddoo and Greene, and got Willi Castro to ground out.
Harold Castro pitched again, which should initiate some kind of rebate for Tigers fans every time it happens, and of course, he allowed a single and no more as the Guardians tried to softball 60 mph fastballs into the souvenir seats beyond the outfield walls.
Tanner Tully took over in the ninth. Tucker Barnhart grounded out, and Harold Castro walked. Eric Haase smoked a double to center field, but Castro was cut down trying to score at the plate, though it took a review to resolve the question. Schoop struck out, and this one was mercifully in the books.
Well, the Tigers are absolutely staggering into the break. Many fans are ready to burn the whole thing down and start over. We’re having lots of fun. The Tigers will try to salvage a game in this series with Tyler Alexander and a bullpen game against Shane Bieber on Sunday afternoon.