Texas 5, Detroit 0: A not-so-enjoyable holiday game

Bless You Boys

Matthew Boyd vs. Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t a particularly encouraging matchup.

The former entered Monday’s Memorial Day contest with an ERA approaching 6.00. If you extrapolate his last five starts, it’s nearly 7.00. Meanwhile, Eovaldi’s pitched to a 2.60 ERA and an even lower FIP in his first 10 starts with the Texas Rangers.

It also doesn’t help that Texas has the best offense in baseball.

The good news? Eovaldi was chased after just five innings, drawing a season-high three walks and forcing him to throw 95 pitches. The bad news? The right-hander left the game without surrendering a run.

It’s not like Detroit didn’t didn’t have their opportunities.

The Tigers’ first and best chance to score came in the second inning. Spencer Torkelson and Nick Maton drew back-to-back walks to start the frame, and Akil Baddoo stayed hot with a line drive single through the right side to load the bases with nobody out.

But Eric Haase hit a meek ground ball to first base, which Nathaniel Lowe used to get the force out at home, and Andy Ibanez followed it up with a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Detroit is 9-for-52 with the bases loaded and a league-worst 9-for-77 with runners in scoring position with nobody out, per The Athletic’s Cody Stavenhagen.

They got runners on the corners with two outs in the third and two on in the eighth, but neither bore any runs, and the Tigers finished 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Boyd was solid through four innings. Though the Rangers had a shot at scoring a few times, the lefty kept the game scoreless… at least until the fifth. Boyd notoriously struggles in his third trip through a lineup, and that trend continued on Monday. The 32-year-old walked former Tiger Robbie Grossman to start the frame, and Marcus Semien drew a base on balls two batters later. Corey Seager immediately took a first-pitch hanging slider and sent it into the seats in right field to break the scoreless tie.

After working a quick sixth, Boyd was chased after two baserunners in the seventh inning — both of which scored after Mason Englert took over. The final line had Boyd surrendering five runs on five hits and four walks.

It’s arguable that Boyd never should have taken the mound after six, considering he hasn’t gotten an out that deep into a game all season and his ERA in the sixth inning is a whopping 19.29 this year. After Monday, his seventh inning ERA is infinite. On the other hand, pitting Seager against a lefty before bringing in Mason Englert is defensible. One way or the other, without any runs scored and in a 13 day stretch without a day off, the Tigers weren’t going to use any of their better relievers in this one.

There were a few positives. Zach McKinstry, Riley Greene and Akil Baddoo all stayed hot. Each reached twice — McKinstry and Baddoo both had a single and a walk, while Greene roped two singles.

Additionally, Ibanez made his second career start at first base and made a few highlight plays, including this snazzy snare to rob Seager of extra bases.

Detroit drops to 25-27, failing to draw even to .500 in their first opportunity to do so since they were 2-3. The two teams will tangle again on Tuesday at 6:40, with Alex Faedo (1-2, 4.15 ERA) going against veteran Martín Pérez (6-1, 3.83).

Injury note

Detroit outfielder Matt Vierling was originally in the lineup to hit eighth and play right field. He was scratched two hours before the game with a reported back injury and replaced with Zack Short, who celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday.

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