Royals 8, Tigers 3: Bullpen implosion theater

Bless You Boys

The Tigers rolled into Kansas City off a convincing series win in the desert. However, the first of three did not go as planned as Reese Olson got quite literally knocked out of the game early on and Joey Wentz came unglued in a long sixth inning that doomed them in this one.

The duel between Olson and KC’s Michael Wacha started off tilted toward the Royals. Olson stranded a Bobby Witt Jr. double in the first, but the contact was a little loud off the Royals’ bats. Meanwhile, Wacha kept the Tigers in check early on, retiring the first six hitters he faced.

Michael Massey led off the bottom of the second for the Royals and battled Olson for eight pitches before he got a fastball down and on the inner half of the strike zone. He pounced, launching a solo shot to right field that opened the scoring and gave KC an early 1-0 lead.

Olson cleaned up the rest of the inning without much trouble, and it was time for a Tigers’ threat. Colt Keith led off the third with a grounder that found its way through the right side of the infield. Javy Báez quickly grounded one back to Wacha, who started a 1-4-3 double play. Jake Rogers followed with a single and Riley Greene walked, but Wacha got Mark Canha to ground out, stranding Rogers at second.

Olson collected two quick outs in the bottom half, striking out Witt Jr. flailing at a changeup. However, he then walked Vinnie Pasquantino and Salvador Perez singled to center field. Massey stepped to the dish and ripped a drive right off of Olson’s right hip. Rogers had to collect it but threw it away as Pasquantino scored and Olson stalked around in obvious agony until finally departing the field with a right hip contusion.

This could’ve resulted in things falling apart, but Beau Brieske came on and got Freddy Fermin to ground out, snuffing a growing threat.

Down 2-0, Kerry Carpenter cut the deficit in half with his sixth home run of the year, this time going the opposite way on a Wacha fastball right down broadway.

Brieske collected three quick fly balls outs, but the Tigers couldn’t capitalize on a leadoff single by Keith to open the fifth inning. Brieske again held it down, spinning a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth.

The Tigers again couldn’t solve Wacha with the top of the order up in the sixth, and as it turned out that would be their last chance to seize control of this one.

Joey Wentz has been downright excellent in relief this season, to my surprise and the surprise of many others who’ve watched him struggle to command his stuff consistently, particularly in traffic. He’s been better this year, but it finally caught up to him in this one.

Salvador Perez led off with his ninth home run of the year, and the Royals went double, single, single, double from there, knocking Wentz out of the game with authority with four runs in already. Will Vest came on but he couldn’t really stop the bleeding either, allowing two more runs before mercifully escaping.

That was pretty much the ballgame right there.

On the plus side, the Tigers got doubles from Carpenter and Keith in the seventh to make it 8-2. At least those two were having a good night.

The Tigers got one more run in the eighth when Riley Greene and Mark Canha walked with one out. A Wenceel Pérez single loaded the bases, and Carpenter lifted a sac fly to center field to make it 8-3. Gio Urshela walked to keep the line moving, but Spencer Torkelson grounded out to end it. Not a good night for Tork, though he didn’t strike out at all.

Alex Lange took over in the bottom of the eighth and put together a very Alex Lange inning. He walked two, struck out two, and allowed no runs, getting Pasquantino to ground out to escape a two-out jam.

The Tigers went in order in the ninth, and that was that. Not a bad game overall. The injury to Olson and Wentz’s meltdown were the factors, and the Tigers are going to need some solutions in the pen if their struggles continue much longer. But they shouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with. Just a fluke injury, and hopefully Olson will be good to go to make his next start.

RHP Casey Mize will take on RHP Alec Marsh on Tuesday night at 7:40 p.m. ET.

Box Score

Articles You May Like

GameThread: Tigers vs. Brewers, 1:40 p.m.
Pennsylvania Lottery Online Plays
TMLR podcast with Sam Lebowitz of the Erie SeaWolves
Homestead Highlight May 28 – June 2
Torkelson Talks in Toledo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *