The Big Greene: Tigers 13, Astros 5

Bless You Boys

On a hot and humid afternoon in the Lone Star state, the Detroit Tigers took on the Houston Astros. Jack Flaherty got the call for the Tigers, while expected starter and legendary ex-Tiger Justin Verlander was scratched with neck discomfort a few hours before the game.

His replacement was Spencer Arrighetti, a 24-year-old rookie right-hander and the next man up in Houston’s rotation. Arrighetti struggled to start the season but has been on a roll lately and has recorded a 1.23 ERA and 3.63 FIP in his last three games, giving up nine hits (one home run) and nine walks while striking out 18 stretching over 14 23 innings.

After Wenceel Perez struck out looking, Matt Vierling took a 3-2 pitch for a ride, launching a home run 431 feet to deep left center. Riley Greene, probably annoyed from a near HR being robbed last night, did the exact same thing for the first back-to-back jacks of the season (his only went 369 feet).

After a Canha groundout, Colt Keith wanted in on the fun and slugged a four-seam fastball to nearly the same spot as the HRs, bouncing off the wall for an easy double. Malloy struck out to end the threat, but the Tigers had taken an early lead.

Flaherty, having a heck of a rebound season, retired the Astros 1-2-3 in the first.

While lately it feels like the Tigers have had a big inning and then slept through the rest of the game, Zack McKinstry kept it going in the second by walking and promptly stealing second. Baddoo walked, then Spencer got wild and hit Carson Kelly on the elbow to load the bases with nobody out for Perez. Wenceel smacked a low cutter into right field for a 2-run single, stretching the lead to 4-0 and Arrighetti’s pitch count to 40.

Of course, this left two men on base. After a shallow flyout, Riley Greene stepped to the plate again. His last two at-bats had resulted in a robbed HR and a shallow HR. What would he do this time? How about an absolute nuke to RF for a 417-foot Earl Weaver special, putting the good guys up 7-0 and knocking Arrighetti out of the game? Per Dan Dickerson, he had only given up five HR all season but the Tigers put up an additional three today.

Tigers weren’t done, either. Canha greeted reliever Shawn Dubin with a double (and an impressive swim move to get to 2B safely), Keith hit a sharp grounder that Jon Singleton whiffed on for an RBI, Zack and Akil both walked for the 2nd time in the inning, but Carson grounded out to mercifully end the inning.

Flaherty allowed a single and nothing else to move to the 3rd.

Greene came up again with two men on base but only managed a paltry RBI single. Canha singled in Vierling, but Greene was thrown out advancing by an incredible throw from Dubon in RF. Keith had another single, and suddenly five straight Tigers had reached base, chasing Dubin.

New reliever Nick Hernandez quickly snuffed the threat, however. The score was now 10-0 and felt like the Tigers could have been scoring even more. Per the Bally broadcast, this is the first time in seven years the Tigers had scored 10-plus runs in the first 3 innings (June 2, 2017, against the White Sox).

The Astros threatened after a one-out triple, but Flaherty got out unscathed yet again.

Tigers got two on, but nothing did in the 4th. Astros countered the squander with zero baserunners against Flaherty in the bottom of the inning.

The back-and-forth battle of zeroes continued in the 5th, although Flaherty had to strand runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, doing so with two filthy strikeouts looking and a flyout.

Astros reliever Hernandez had been doing an admirable job shutting the Tigers down, but in the 6th he left a slider up and Carson Kelly promptly deposited it 394 feet away for his third HR of the season. Perez then struck out, but it was 11-0 Tigers after 6.

Both teams started subbing in bench guys, and Flaherty’s night was done after five shutout innings and 73 pitches, likely to give him a bit more rest during a blowout. His ERA is now 3.01 on the season, which just shows how Fetterized he’s become.

Mason Englert worked around some defensive indifference in the 6th, while Greene collected his fourth hit but was stranded by a slumping Malloy. By this point, all the starters but Malloy had each been on base at least twice; JHM was 0-5 with six men stranded.

Englert ran out of steam in the 7th. With a runner on and two outs, the Astros suddenly went 2B, 2B, BB, HR and suddenly it was 11-5 Tigers. Mason got the last out, but his ERA had ballooned to 6.75 and you have to think the team will make a change soon.

Tigers answered back by loading the bases. Greene took a walk to force in a run and give him 6 RBI for the day (don’t forget to vote for him for the All-Star Game!). The Astros threatened in the bottom half, but Will Vest got debuting rookie Cooper Hummel to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Taylor Scott came on for the Astros in the 9th; he’s been elite this season. Because baseball, Colt Keith greeted him with a 403-foot HR to right center. Some folks wanted him sent down, but this was a 4 hit game for the rookie. On the flip side, Malloy continued to struggle, ending 0-6 after another strikeout.

Bottom of the ninth and Joey Wentz came on. No muss, no fuss, three outs and the game was over. Tigers will look to take a series win tomorrow afternoon.

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