Athletics 7, Tigers 1: At least we didn’t get shut out again, right, you guys?

Bless You Boys

ahem

Tigers lose, 7-1.

Okay, fine, I’ll recap the game.

Today, the Oakland Athletics spoiled Detroit’s first home series of the 2024 campaign.

…Before we get started, if you aren’t a fanatic, close this tab now and go watch whatever remains of the second half of Iowa vs. South Carolina. If you are some kind of sicko, however — or are simply looking for some copium to ride the high of the 6-3 start — I’ll stop trying to redirect you to something more productive.

Three Objective Observations from Today’s Game

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first: Jack Flaherty gave up six earned runs, topping Kenta Maeda’s season-worst start for Detroit in which he had allowed five earned runs.

…Yeah. That sucked. (What else do you want me to say?) I don’t care that he only walked one guy, or that he struck out five batters, or that he ate six innings. Ten baserunners will not do. Matt Manning did not die — err, go to Toledo (“close enough,” am I right, comment section?) — for this.

Second, in case you missed yesterday, a Tigers veteran free agent rotation addition gave up a two-run home run in the first inning for a second day in a row. Thankfully, I wrote yesterday’s recap too, so I can just recycle my meme from that recap!

OK, to be fair, Zack Gelof definitely overtook Brent Rooker in the Oakland Athletics “best hitter” hierarchy today.
Zane Harding

Third, and most frustratingly: Joe Boyle threw more balls than strikes, yet allowed only two hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out six. I recall reading Eno Sarris share that Boyle has excellent Stuff+ or whatever, but this man was terrible in his first start!

Three Observations, Three Young Assets

Spencer Torkelson’s launch angles are all out of sorts. Torkelson didn’t strike out in his first three trips to the plate today, but he definitely isn’t getting BABIP’d. This marks Spencer Torkelson’s third consecutive spring training and March/April start where his timing is all out of whack.

Parker Meadows, meanwhile, is batting .087, and finished the first week of April with one hit — an infield single. (His .450 OPS, however — propped up by his March 30 triple — is just behind Torkelson’s .462 mark.) For those wondering, Meadows has two options remaining.

Colt Keith is still gearing up, but the 22-year-old second baseman did post a .348 OBP in the first week of April while displaying some very nice defense.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly — OutKast Edition

The Good:

My bullpen don’t mess around
Because it loves me so
And I know this fo sho
But does Alex Lange wanna
But can’t stand to see me walk out CoPa?

CoPa being Comerica Park. The Tigers bullpen, once again, gave up no runs today… until Alex Lange entered. He gave up two singles, one double, and a run before getting a GIDP. Even our worst reliever has a 3.38 ERA!

The Bad:

Who makes $14 million and thinks he’s got it, oh he thinks he’s got it,
but Gelof goes and gets it till there’s nothing at all?

The answer is Jack Flaherty. buckle up for the rollercoaster, y’all. In fairness to the Athletics, Zack Gelof was brilliant this weekend, scoring three times on Saturday and driving in four and scoring twice again today. The 24-year-old is officially on the baseball world’s radar after today.

The Ugly:

OK, now readers! (“Yeah!”)
I said, what’s cooler than being cool? (“This offense is ICE COLD!”)

Credit to my brother-in-writing Brady McAtamney on that one.

Detroit was shut out 22 times in 2022, and reduced that number to 15 games in 2023, which was also not ideal. By avoiding the shutout today, at least Detroit isn’t on pace to be shutout 36 times.


we are 6-3 we are 6-3 we are 6-3

What now!?

As painful as today was, that was one game. Detroit sits in second place in the AL Central even after a disappointing weekend, one game back of the Cleveland Guardians and two games ahead of the Minnesota Twins. (Of note, the Kansas City Royals are currently ahead of the Twins.)

The Race for the AL Central

CLE This Week: VS CHW (3 games), VS NYY (3 games)
DET This Week: @ PIT (2 games), VS MIN (4 games)
KC This Week: VS HOU (3 games), @ NYM (3 games)
MIN This Week: VS LAD (3 games), @ DET (4 games)

The White Sox don’t deserve a spot in this section, as they were swept by the lowly 6-3 Tigers, but they will host the Reds for three after going to Cleveland to start the week.

My wife is telling me I need to stop writing about this bad baseball game now. Again, go watch Iowa vs South Carolina (and if you miss it live, go find a recap). This is a once-in-a-generation type of game; this was a game I hope I never think of again beyond the next few weeks!

The Tigers now head out to tackle a hot Pittsburgh Pirates squad on Monday and Tuesday before their next off day. Then things will get real as the they face the Twins, Rangers, and Rays in a 14-game stretch that starts with two series at home against the Twins and the Rays before two on the road against the Twins and Rays. Reese Olson and Casey Mize will take the ball on Monday and Tuesday respectively. Hopefully the bats warm up with the weather.

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