A dream matchup for Tigers and Foley in the 8th turns into a head-scratching nightmare

Detroit News

Miami – Jason Foley said it exactly right.

“You just chalk it up to, ‘Sometimes (stuff) happens,’” he said.

To say that the Marlins collecting three straight singles and scoring two runs off him in the eighth inning Friday night was improbable doesn’t even begin to explain it. The Tigers had just rallied to tie the score 4-4 and manager AJ Hinch had to feel incredibly confident sending in Foley to face the pocket of hitters the Marlins had coming up.

Foley, with his power sinker, has a 57.7% ground-ball rate. Hitting for the Marlins in the eighth were left-handed hitting Jesus Sanchez (who hits the ball on the ground 53% of the time), right-handed hitting Yuli Gurriel (who has a minus-8 runs above average against high velocity), right-handed hitting Jon Berti (50% ground-ball rate) and lefty Joey Wendle (54.5% ground-ball rate).

It was almost a dream matchup. Except it wasn’t.

Sanchez rolled a ball off the end of his bat that stayed inside the bag at third for an infield hit. Gurriel got the barrel to a 98-mph heater and lined a single. Berti rolled another single to score a run and Wendle lifted a sacrifice fly to center.

The Tigers ended up losing 6-5.

“It’s the big leagues and those innings are going to happen,” Hinch said. “The bad luck to start the inning is probably the most frustrating because you can’t control it. Foley got into a good count, makes a good pitch and he hits a ball that snuck inside the line.

“After that, they put up some pretty good at-bats. Yuli may not hit a ton of velocity but he hits in high leverage and he’s going to be a clutch hitter. And Berti, he can handle a lot of pitches. They won the big at-bats.”

The one thing Foley would take a do-over on is getting ahead of more hitters. He fell behind Gurriel, Berti and Wendle.

“Falling behind guys is never a recipe for success, no matter who you are,” Foley said. “But you’re not going to have your best outing every night out. I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well. Stuff just happens. It’s baseball.”

It was just the second time in 45 outings Foley gave up multiple runs.

“I’ll put Jason Foley in that game 100 out of 100 times,” Hinch said. “Especially after we came back to tie the game. He’s going to get plenty of outs. He’s been so good for us. Just last night he got beat.”

Spin corrected

The spin rate on Reese Olson’s slider was indeed down Friday night, but not nearly as much as earlier Statcast data indicated.

Going into the fourth inning, Olson had thrown 12 sliders which, according to Statcast, had an average spin rate of 2,473 rpm. That was alarming because his season average was 3,013 rpm. By the end of Olson’s six innings, the spin rate climbed up, but not to 3,000 rpm.

Turns out, some of Olson’s pitches were misclassified. Major League Baseball went back and made the correction after the game. Either a couple of change-ups were misread as sliders, which would have lower rpms, or the spin rates on a couple of sliders weren’t recorded.

The corrected minimum spin rate was 2,809 rpm. The average spin on his slider was 2,967 rpm.

Third bullpen catcher

The Tigers have added a third bullpen catcher.

Chase Barbary, who last season was catching at West Michigan, has joined Tim Remes and Chris Chinea for the rest of the season.

“He was in Double-A development camp and we think he has a future as a coach at a variety of levels,” Hinch said. “His dad has been a coach for a long time and it’s time for him to make that next step and get more exposure on the not-playing side.”

Barbary had caught some of the Tigers’ rehabbing pitchers in Lakeland.

Around the horn

As expected, the Tigers called up lefty Joey Wentz from Toledo to pitch bulk innings after Beau Brieske started the game as an opener Saturday. Reliever Trey Wingenter was optioned back to Toledo.

… Javier Báez reached base three times on Friday, two infield hits and a walk. He also stole the 100th base of his career. He is 10 for 10 on the season, one of four big-league players to have 10 or more stolen bases without being caught.

Twitter: @cmccosky

Tigers at Marlins

First pitch: 1:40 p.m., LoanDepot Park, Miami

TV/radio: BSD/97.1.

Scouting report

LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 3.71), Tigers: He will be trying to replicate or one-up his last performance, which would be impressive. He pitched an stifling five scoreless innings against the Giants on Monday, striking out nine and allowing only two singles. He brought his entire repertoire — a bullying fastball with well-located sliders, change-ups and even the occasional curveball.

LHP Jesus Luzardo (8-5, 3.22), Marlins: Tough assignment for the Tigers here. The Marlins are 5-2 in his last seven starts. He’s allowed just seven earned runs in 42.2 innings over that stretch, holding hitters to a .185 average. Off a 97-mph four-seam fastball, he gets a lot of swing-and-miss with an electric slider (52% whiff rate) and a change-up (38.6% whiff). Overall, he has one of the best chase rates (31%) in baseball.

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