Blue Jays 9, Tigers 1: The bullpen woes continue

Bless You Boys

That Royals series sure was awful. What a stinker of a sweep. Largely lifeless hitting, lousy pitching. Would a little home-cookin’ cure those Kansas City blues?

Well, whatever they were eating on the road, they must’ve taken the leftovers home with ‘em because the Tigers dropped their fifth consecutive game, 9-1 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Taking the mound for the Tigers on Thursday night was Jack Flaherty, making his tenth start. Aside from Tarik Skubal, I’d say Flaherty has been the best starter on the team — and since late April he’s been almost lights-out good. In the four starts coming into tonight, he’d pitched 25⅓ innings, walked four and struck out 36 (!!); to that end, as of the end of Wednesday’s games, he led the league in strikeouts per 9 innings, at 11.9.

Veteran righty Kevin Gausman started for the Blue Jays, and he’s been a little off so far this season. He’s giving up a career-high 11.9 hits per nine innings, and his strikeouts are down from last year’s league-leading 11.5/9 IP; he’s lost a tick off his fastball this year, and since he’s primarily a fastball-splitter guy, that’s a big deal. He was third in the Cy Young voting for 2023, but Yusei Kikuchi has been a far better pitcher so far this season for the Torontonians. He’d find his strikeout touch against the Tigers tonight, as you’ll see.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa opened the scoring with one out in the third, hitting a solo home run to left to put Toronto up 1-0.

In the top of the fourth a pair of singles put Jays on the corners with one out, but Flaherty picked a stumbling Bo Bichette off at first base, and a weak grounder to first from Daniel Vogelbach got the Tigers out of the inning.

Meanwhile Gausman had his mojo working early, striking out eight in the first four innings, giving up only a pair of walks while allowing no hits.

Javier Báez got the Tigers’ first hit of the night leading off the sixth, and Carson Kelly followed with another single to put two runners on with nobody out. Riley Greene then struck out after juuuust missing a double by hitting it inches foul, and Matt Vierling struck out… would the Tigers squander yet another opportunity?

…actually, no, they wouldn’t this time. Wenceel Pérez hit a single to centre, scoring Báez to tie the game at 1. Kelly tried to score but a sensational throw from Kiermaier nailed him at the plate.

Kelly’s secondary lead off first was pretty lousy, so that undoubtedly contributed to getting thrown out, too.

However, the wheels were about to come off in a big way.

Daulton Varsho and the Blue Jays un-tied the score in the ensuing half-inning with a two-run home run, putting the visitors up 3-1 and ending Flaherty’s day. His final line: 6 ⅓ innings, 7 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts… but, those two dingers did all the damage against him. Alex Faedo was brought in to retire the next pair of batters, which he did — but it was on a pair of hard-hit fly balls and a matching pair of nice plays in the outfield.

With one out in the eighth, a walk and a double put runners on second and third for Bo Bichette, who cashed-in Danny Jansen for a 4-1 lead as the hard contact continued against Faedo. Justin Turner pushed the lead to 5-1 with a single of his own, scoring Vladimir Guererro Jr., and a George Springer sacrifice fly scored another run to make it 6-1.

This game doesn’t have a lot of highlights, so here’s a neat, slo-mo angle on Paul Skenes. Good luck, hitters.

Seeing as how the rest of this game was bound to be rather dull, why not put Mason Englert in for the ninth inning to see what’d happen? He was just recalled from Toledo (see below), and he’s been pretty good in Triple-A so far, striking out a bunch of people. Well, he gave up three hits and three runs, but it didn’t really matter anyway. Welcome back to the Tall Buildings, buddy.

Wenceel Pérez ran into the wall chasing a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. two-run shot off of Englert and appeared a little shaken up. Hopefully he’s alright because the Tigers sure need him.

Tim Mayza was brought on to close out the easy victory, and he gave up a couple of singles but that was it.

The I-75 Shuttle is Up and Running

Notes and Numbers

  • Riley Greene, April 17 through May 4: 69 PA, 5 HR, 3 2B, 11 BB. Slash line (BA/OBP/SLG): .339/.449/.696, for an OPS of 1.146. However, he had a BAbip of .389, which is quite lucky.
  • Riley Greene, May 5 through May 22: 69 PA, 1 HR, 2 2B, 5 BB. Slash line (BA/OBP/SLG): .172/.232/.250, for an OPS of .482. That BAbip, though? An unlucky .227.
  • There are always lots of Blue Jays fans in the crowd in Detroit, and tonight was no exception.
  • “Remember: it ain’t ham, unless it’s a Big Ass Ham.”
  • WXYT used “Planet Claire” by the B-52’s as bumper-music tonight.
  • On this day in 1430, Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc or Jehanne Darc, spelling was pretty fluid back then) was captured by the Burgundians, who were in cahoots with the English, at the Siege of Compiègne. In her early teens she started seeing visions of different saints, primarily St. Michael, the patron saint of France, and she was convinced that she was the one who would fulfill a local prophecy of a young, armed woman saving France. She led armies into battle successfully, but after her capture she was tried and convicted of heresy (for wearing men’s clothes and not strictly following the church), and was burned at the stake. Sorry, Joan!

Articles You May Like

Tigers Notes: Baez, Kreidler, McKinstry, Flaherty
Wilkel Hernandez pitches well on a day of rain outs across the system
TMLR podcast with Sam Lebowitz of the Erie SeaWolves
Nationals 7, Tigers 5: Reese Olson knocked around again
Change in approach powers offensive breakout for Tigers 2B prospect Hao-Yu Lee

Leave a Reply

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