Marlins 1, Tigers 0 (F/10): The Manfred Man Strikes Again

Bless You Boys

The Tigers came back to win Monday night’s game in a thrilling victory, but there would be no such comeback on Tuesday night as Detroit dropped a 1-0 contest to the Marlins in 10 innings.

The hardest-luck of hard-luck pitchers these days, Reese Olson, started for the home team tonight. Look, I know that “pitcher wins” are really falling out of favour with the Baseball Intelligentsia these days, but I don’t care how much or little you like the newfangled stats, an 0-4 record with an ERA in the mid-2’s (and a FIP to match) just ain’t right. It. Ain’t. Right. Something should be done. Maybe a letter-writing campaign. Petitions to the league office. A bottle drive, perhaps? Those used to solve lots of problems. We’ll work on it.

(Oh yeah, I know what would solve that record problem but-quick… some danged run support!)

Ryan Weathers, a 24-year-old lefty, got the nod for the Fish. He saw some action with the Padres from ‘21 through ‘23, then came over to Miami in a midseason trade last year. He made his ninth start of the season tonight, and his heretofore numbers have been somewhat middling: he’ll get in trouble with a walk or three, then give up hard contact to push runs across. However, coming into tonight’s game, he had two solid starts on the West Coast… and as you’ll see, that carried right on through to tonight.

Things were pretty quiet, without a lot of hard contact for either team, early on — but a slightly unusual wind, blowing out to right field, gave a couple of outfielders a tough time. A pretty generous strike zone benefitted both starting pitchers, and arguing balls and strikes got the Marlins’ bench coach ejected in the second inning.

Notably, though, Weathers mowed through the Tigers’ order like a hot knife through margarine, getting a ton of ground balls along the way. Through five innings Weathers had gone 15-up, 15-down, with 40 strikes against 16 balls, striking out four.

Olson wasn’t too shabby either; through five innings he’d given up two singles, and also thrown only 56 pitches (33 for strikes). He faced one batter over the minimum, with one of the singles getting erased on a nifty double play in the fifth.

The radio guys surmised Olson’s game plan was to actually throw fewer strikes than he normally would, as the Marlins would be more likely to chase pitches outside the zone and hit them on the ground; Olson generally misses low in the zone, anyway, so that tracks.

The TV guys, namely Jason Benetti, had this rather peculiar observation about Olson:

Gotta tell ya, I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I can dig it.

Wenceel Pérez got the Tigers their first hit with a leadoff single in the sixth, but he was erased on a double-play ground ball by Javier Báez. Oh well.

Both starting pitchers went eight innings, and that’s something you just don’t see anymore. Olson gave up a scant three singles, walked nobody, and struck out 6. Alas, since he was at 96 pitches, he got the handshake, signalling the end of his day.

Pérez tried to get things going with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but alas, Báez again hit a grounder and the inning was over, the game remaining scoreless.

Jason Foley replaced Olson, who again would have a sensational outing but come away without a win. Foley got a strikeout, a soft lineout to centre and a groundout, and we’d go to the bottom of the ninth.

Weathers was similarly finished after eight stellar innings, and the Marlins’ normal closer, Tanner Scott, another lefty, was brought in for the ninth. He’s been good this season so far, but he has a penchant for giving up walks. With one out, Matt Vierling hit a hard grounder to third which clanked off the third baseman’s glove and went straight up in the air. Andy Ibáñez then struck out, but a Mark Canha walk pushed the speedy Vierling into scoring position. Alas, Riley Greene hit a grounder to third, and we’d be sent to extra innings scoreless.

Alex Lange started the tenth, and the Marlins’ Manfred Man was their first runner on second all night. Lange’s been generally good but the less said about his previous outing, the better. Josh Bell hit a soft single to centre which pushed Bryan De La Cruz up to third, and a grounder to second forced Bell at second for the first out — but De La Cruz scored the game’s only run on the play, the Tigers giving up the run for the out. A strikeout later, Jesús Sánchez was caught stealing second by Jake Rogers, and it was up to the Tigers to extend or win the game.

AJ Puk, a lefty who’s having a really tough year so far, started the bottom of the tenth with Greene on second. Spencer Torkelson fouled out to third after hitting a nearly-perfect opposite-field blooper inches foul which would’ve easily scored Greene. A deep flyout by the newly-returned Gio Urshela advanced Greene to third, leaving it all up to Pérez… who hit another flyout to right to end the game.

Baseball: it’s a “game of inches,” you know.

In Case You Missed It

This is in addition to last night’s moves of (a.) Ryan Vilade down to Toledo, (b.) Shelby Miller to the IL with “ulnar nerve inflammation” (yikes), and (c.) Beau Brieske and Matt Manning being recalled from Toledo.

…wait, Manning was in Toledo?! Shoot, I thought he was a regular member of the rotation!

Numbers and Notes

  • Coming into tonight’s game, Spencer Torkelson had been on a tear during an eight-game hitting streak: 32 plate appearances, four doubles, two homers, and an OPS of 1.030. And yes, motherrrrr, I know that’s a small sample size, but dangit, that’s still pretty nice.
  • Because you were wondering, yes, Ryan Weathers is the son of 19-year MLB veteran David Weathers, who pitched for quite a few teams but spent the most time with the Reds and, yes, the Marlins. Neat.
  • It might be a fun time to remind you that Reese Olson was the return on a 1-for-1 trade-deadline deal with the Brewers in 2021 for Daniel Norris.
  • Does anyone use castille soap around the house? We bought a big bottle of it a while ago, and I see it now and again, but we haven’t used it much.
  • On this day in 1800, the Sixth US Congress recessed. That may not seem like a terribly noteworthy event, but it was in Philadelphia, and it was the last time Congress met before the seat of federal government moved to the then-newly-planned Washington, in the District of Columbia.

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