Alexander puts loss behind him after 5th inning snafu

Detroit Tigers

CHICAGO — Tyler Alexander was in prime position to give the Tigers five strong innings of one-run baseball. But a rough fifth frame wiped that away as frustration started to build for the left-hander. 

That inning led to Alexander being handed his fourth consecutive defeat in the Tigers’ 5-3 loss to the White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. Detroit has now lost seven straight games and was swept for the second consecutive series.

“This is a reality, this is where we’re at,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’re gonna keep fighting [and] pushing.”

In his outing on Sunday, Alexander gave up three runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts across five innings. Despite not feeling his best on the mound, the left-hander grinded through every at-bat to give his team a chance to win. 

“I struggled with command,” Alexander said. “I threw a lot of pitches, gave up a few hits and three walks. Battled through five though and gave us a chance to win with three.”

Added Hinch: “He was battling himself. He was a little more erratic than he normally is. He was kind of in and around the strike zone and using a lot of resources up pretty early. Getting him through five was good. But I think it was a grind for him today in making pitches that were not his best, but he was competing.”

Entering the game, Alexander had a tough task against an all right-handed lineup. Facing a Sox team that ranks top-five in the Majors in batting average (.273) and OBP (.337) against left-handed pitching, the 28-year-old had to make a point to utilize his cutter.

“This lineup is going to be stacked with righties,” Hinch said pregame. “But if he establishes the inside part of the plate with his cutter, then [he] can play the cat-and-mouse game of changing speeds. That’s kind of vintage Tyler.”

For four innings, Alexander held his own and used his cutter efficiently. He allowed just one run on three hits and grinded through 78 pitches to keep Chicago’s bats in check.

But then the southpaw’s outing took a turn for the worse in the fifth inning. A leadoff double by AJ Pollock and another two-bagger by Eloy Jiménez led to the beginning of Alexander’s frustrations.

“I threw some bad pitches and they got hit,” Alexander said. “It is what it is.”

Though the hit tied the game and put the go-ahead run in scoring position, Alexander was determined to get out of that jam and keep the score even. After allowing a single to José Abreu, which pushed Jiménez to third with one out, Alexander would get his wish of escaping the troubles with an inning-ending double play.

Javier Báez fielded a clean ground ball and flipped it to Willi Castro, but Kody Clemens dropped the ball at first as the go-ahead run hustled in.

“I think he stretched a little early,” Hinch said. “The ball tailed on him a little bit and it never got into the webbing. When the ball’s tailing like that [and] the fact that he stretched early and it never got in his glove created the miss.”

Even White Sox right fielder Andrew Vaughn — who slammed his helmet to the ground before realizing he was safe on the play — was shocked by Clemens’ drop.

“I [thought it was a double play],” said Vaughn, who had the go-ahead RBI in all three games of the sweep. “That’s why the helmet was on the ground. … I was running as fast as I could, I didn’t hear anything. Just trying to beat it out and [I] didn’t think I did.”

Alexander’s outing on Sunday didn’t go as expected. But since he’s returned to the starting rotation, the lefty has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last four starts. He now sports a 3.98 ERA on the year.

“It’s just a grind when you pitch one and you know that you don’t have your best stuff,” Alexander said. “So you grind and that’s what I did. I threw the best I could with what I had. You have those days where you’re not on, and today I wasn’t on.”

Articles You May Like

Valente tallies first four hit game in loss
This team’s blueprint hints at Tigers’ new approach
Detroit Tigers game score vs. Chicago White Sox: Live scoring updates
Tigers complete ‘best trip of season’ with sweep, end White Sox’s playoff run
Detroit Tigers: 5 terrible decisions from the 2022 season

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.