7-6, 1st in AL Central
Drew Smyly's debut in the rotation did not go like he had hoped, after bouncing around in the bullpen for two-plus weeks due to off days and rain (snow) outs. Smyly made it through just three innings, giving up four runs with a pair of walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Things got worse from there. Luke Putkonen came on in relief, and ended up yielding seven more runs over his two-plus innings of work, putting the game out of reach, for all intents-and-purposes, as the club was down 11-1 after six innings.
The Tigers did try to make it interesting toward the end via five run seventh inning, as the club batted around and threaten to do even more damaged, but with runners on second and third, Alex Avila grounded out to end the inning.
The Tigers threatened again in the ninth, but with runners on first and second, Don Kelly hit a soft liner to John McDonald, who wisely let it drop, tagged second base for the force out and caught Victor Martinez in a rundown for the final out.
News and Notes
- Justin Miller made his big league debut after Putkonen's disastrous outing and showed well, posting two shutout innings, while also notching a strikeout. Congrats Justin, welcome to The Show.
- Evan Reed made an appearance in the ninth and again tossed a shutout inning. He has yet to allow run in six innings of work spanning five games, with one walk and three strikeouts. Per Pitch Info, his four seam fastball has been sitting in the 97-98 MPH range, while he's getting swings and misses on 13% of his sliders this month. The sample size is small, but it's been an encouraging sign for a pitcher in a bullpen that could use a few of those.
- Ian Kinsler continues to carry the Tigers at the plate; he was 3-for-5 on Friday night with a run scored and two driven in. His .351 average and .899 OPS both lead the team, a somewhat surprising development given his struggles last season, along with the presence of Miguel Cabrera, you know, the reigning AL MVP.
- In somewhat related news, Prince Fielder is hitting .190 with one home run in 75 plate appearances for the Rangers.
- Andrew Romine went 1-for-3 with a walk and scored a run in just his seventh game of action this season. It was nothing to write home about, but it was the sort of outing (coupled with solid defense) that the Tigers would like to get out of the shortstop position with Iglesias on the shelf indefinitely.
Around the Org Scores
AAA Toledo Mud Hens
5-10, 4th in West Division
- J.D. Martinez, Luis Exposito and Ezequiel Carrera each belted home runs for the Mud Hens, with Martinez hitting the tying shot, and Exposito belting the go-ahead blast in the eighth inning. Kevin Whelan tossed two scoreless innings for his first save since joining the club.
AA Erie Seawolves
5-8, 5th in Western Division
- Kyle Ryan took the loss, giving up five runs on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings, but no walks and five strikeouts.
A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers
9-6, t-2nd in North Division
- Angel Nesbitt and Brennan Smith combined for five scoreless innings of relief with six strikeouts, with Smith earning the win when Connor Harrell scored the go-ahead run for Lakeland via a wild pitch in the 13th inning. Jeff Holm went 3-for-6 with a home run and three runs driven in.
A West Michigan Whitecaps
9-6, 3rd in North Division
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- Buck Farmer struck out 11 over seven innings, scattering just two hits to pick up the win. Ben Verlander went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Wynton Bernard added a three run homer that would prove to be the difference. Willy Adames and Javier Betancourt struggled defensively, each committing two errors.
About the Daily Smoko
Smoko is an Australian and New Zealand term for a short cigarette break during work. It can also describe a short coffee or tea break. TigsTown does not condone or support smoking, but it is a nice way to honor former manager Jim Leyland, and have you guys read recaps while you should probably be working.