What Detroit Tigers’ Matthew Boyd is working on following ‘uncharacteristic’ start

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd couldn’t find the tempo in his delivery in Friday’s 9-2 loss to Seattle at Comerica Park. He walked four Mariners, struck out one and allowed six runs.

The M’s chased him from the start with one out in the second inning.

“Four walks, I like to think that’s not me,” Boyd said Tuesday, reflecting on Friday’s start. “That’s really uncharacteristic of me. I know that’s happened once this year already (April 9 against the Boston Red Sox), but that’s not the norm for me. I’m a guy that competes in the strike zone with all my pitches.”

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What happened Friday against the Mariners was Boyd’s shortest start, aside from an injury-related departure, since Sept. 20, 2018. Failing to complete two innings, as Boyd explained, practically never happens when he takes the mound.

This time, Boyd threw 28 of 55 pitches for strikes whiel giving up five hits and four walks.

The 32-year-old, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract in the offseason, is expected to make his next start Friday against the Washington Nationals. This week, he has been focused on a few tweaks with one main goal.

“The big thing is finding tempo in my delivery to keep it simple,” Boyd said. “Find the tempo in my delivery, having that good rhythm — not in between pitches, but in the delivery itself — and that’s kind of what’s been the good part of this year.”

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This season, Boyd has a 6.47 ERA with 15 walks and 29 strikeouts in 32 innings in seven starts. Throughout his career, March and April have been his best months, performance-wise.

Boyd reached the fifth inning in his first six starts this season before falling apart in his seventh start. Facing the Mariners, he was slow in his delivery at the beginning of the start and made an in-game adjustment to speed up his delivery, but he overcorrected and felt sped up.

“It’s everything,” Boyd said of his tempo.

“I’m not going to say you’re going to have a perfect delivery on 100 pitches out of 100 pitches,” Boyd continued. “When that time does happen when you misfire, make the adjustment and get right back to it. I knew I was off, but I was making the wrong adjustments.”

Kerry Carpenter update

Outfielder Kerry Carpenter, placed on the injured list April 29 with a right shoulder sprain, resumed a hitting progression over the weekend and started throwing Tuesday, two big steps in his return.

The timetable for a rehab assignment remains unclear.

Carpenter, 25, previously suffered a setback in his return-to-play progression and needed to be shut down for about a week. After being cleared to swing and throw, he is supposed to continue his progression throughout this week.

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Carpenter, a left-handed hitter, has a .217 batting average with four home runs, five walks and 22 strikeouts in 20 games this season. He suffered the shoulder injury April 27 while robbing a home run and crashing into the right-field wall at Comerica Park.

The Tigers have missed Carpenter’s power in their batting order.

Another injury update: Right-handed reliever Trey Wingenter (right biceps tendinitis) played catch Tuesday and extended to 90 feet. The 29-year-old will continue to build his throwing volume throughout the week ahead of a bullpen session at some point.

Hinch praises Vierling

In his past seven games, outfielder Matt Vierling is hitting .036 (1-for-28) with zero extra-base hits, zero walks and six strikeouts. The 26-year-old didn’t start Tuesday against Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Luis L. Ortiz.

Still, manager A.J. Hinch said he’s pleased with Vierling’s swing decisions, meaning the process has been successful despite the lack of results. If that trend continues, Vierling should bounce back from his mini-slump.

“I think his swings have been really good,” Hinch said. “He’s been unlucky with as hard as he’s hit the ball. … I think his decisions have been pretty good, his contact has been pretty good. He is a grinder by nature, which is something that’s always endearing to those of us in the trenches, and he’ll be good for us.”

In 2023, Vierling is hitting .220 with two home runs, seven walks and 31 strikeouts in 35 games. He ranks in the 62nd percentile in average exit velocity (90.2 mph) and in the 84th percentile in whiff rate (18.4%).

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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