Royals 8, Tigers 3: A Royally awful afternoon

Bless You Boys

This should have been a great pitching match to watch with Tarik Skubal taking on Cole Ragans (is it just me or is that the name of a high school quarterback and not a pitcher?), but it turned into the Royals absolutely demolishing the Tigers, which is an unpleasant way to spend a Wednesday afternoon.

Let’s get into how things unfolded.

The Tigers went 1-2-3 to start the first, and the Royals did much the same in the bottom half of the inning. Nice start for both pitchers.

In the second, the Tigers again went down in order. In the home half, the Royals had other plans. With one out, Nelson Velazquez walked, then Freddy Fermin doubled, scoring Velazquez and putting the Royals on the board first. Another out later, Garrett Hampson doubled to score Fermin. Definitely a rough inning for Skubal, whose fastball command was uncharacteristically poor in this one. Ragans did not have those issues as he worked the Tigers over all around the zone with high velocity gas.

Jake Rogers managed a two-out walk in the top of the third, but the Tigers were unable to bring him home. With one out in the home half, Bobby Witt Jr reached on a Gio Urshela error, but was then caught stealing for the second out on what looked like a set play. Vinnie Pasquantino drew a walk, but the Royals didn’t manage to get another run in the inning.

Matt Vierling finally got the Tigers a legit scoring opportunity when he led off the fourth with a walk. Mark Canha struck out, but Riley Greene then reached on a fielder’s choice that left everyone safe. Even with two men on, though, the Tigers failed to score. Urshela popped out and Spencer Torkelson grounded out as Ragans turned them away.

Nelson Velazquez started the Royals half of the inning with a solo home run on a fastball middle in right to his sweet spot. Skubal got the next three batters in order, but the Royals were now up 3-0.

No Tigers baserunners in the fifth. In the bottom of the inning Maikel Garcia got a one-out single, followed by a Bobby Witt Jr single, followed by a Vinnie Pasquantino single that scored Garcia. A double play then ended the inning before more damage could be done.

Top of the sixth was the Tigers’ third walk of the afternoon, another by Matt Vierling, then Riley Greene got a two-out single. Neither runner scored. The fifth was it for Skubal who ended the game with a final line of 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR on 96 pitches. Definitely not his best night overall, but there were no blowouts per se. Skubal made just a few mistakes and the Royals made him pay, Will Vest came out of the pen to replace him and got the next three Royals batters in order.

Will Smith was out of the pen for Ragans in the top of the seventh and no doubt the Tigers were happy to see him gone. Colt Keith got a one-out walk, then Jake Rogers singled. An Andy Ibanez double then scored both the baserunners and put the Tigers on the board. John Schreiber replaced Smith, and walked a pinch-hitting Kerry Carpenter, but Canha flew out to right. The Tigers ultimately had to settle for the two runs. They were back in the ballgame, but not for long.

Adam Frazier walked to start the home half, against new reliever Alex Lange. Maikel Garcia then singled, and also stole second, putting two men in scoring position. Bobby Witt Jr’s double scored two more runs. With two outs, Salvador Perez was hit by a pitch, then Nelson Velazquez walked to load the bases. A Fermin single then scored Witt and Perez, putting the Royals up 8-2.

Onto the eighth and Gio Urshela got a one-out walk. Colt Keith and Javier Baez singled back-to-back to score Urshela. Bottom half of the inning saw Andrew Chafin out of the pen, and he got the Royals 1-2-3.

In the top of the ninth the Tigers might have been hoping for a miraculous comeback, but would have to settle for just one Kerry Carpenter single.

They had an opportunity to gain ground in this series, and instead they crumbled. That was the second sweep the Tigers have endured in May, with only one series victory. A homestand begins on Thursday against the Blue Jays before the Pirates come to town for two next week. A bullpen that has really struggling in May needs some answers or this is going to get out of hand.

Final: Royals 8, Tigers 3

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