Detroit Tigers Lose 6-3, First Cleveland Sweep Since ’08
By Ryan Blevins
Detroit Tigers starter Shane Greene was looking to bounce back following his seven-run debacle in Kansas City. After he left with an injury, Matt Boyd kept Detroit in it. The bats still went cold in defeat.
Detroit Tigers players were attempting to salvage the final game of their three game series against the Cleveland Indians Sunday. It was Kids Opening Day at Comerica Park and the Sunday squad took the field for Detroit.
Both Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton were both relegated to the bench due to their poor starts to the season. The ballpark was filled with optimistic Tigers fans hoping their team would avoid a sweep at the hands of the Indians. Shane Greene would take the hill for the Tigers looking to rebound from a couple of poor starts.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco was cruising through 3 2/3 innings. Things were looking like bleak for Tigers hitters. That is until Carrasco was helped off the field and into the clubhouse following a left leg injury sustained while covering first base. The pitcher collapsed after making the out but would need to leave the game. Indians reliever Trevor Bauer came into this game and picked up right where Carrasco left off.
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The injury bug stayed out on the mound for the Tigers. In the top of the fourth inning, just a half inning after Carrasco exiting the game, Tigers starter Shane Greene left with an injury. A five pitch walk was the last pitch sequence of the day for Greene, who walked off the mound with what seemed to be a blister on his finger.
Enter Drew VerHagen out from the bullpen and intimidating hitters with his warm up song Bulls on Parade by Rage Against the Machine. The intimidation factor did not work as the Indians struck first in this one via a double from a newly-budding Tiger killer Francisco Lindor.
Journeyman Marlon Byrd and the birthday boy Tyler Naquin tacked on two more runs in a rough third inning for Ver Hagen in relief. VerHagen would need to eat some innings in this game due to the Tigers taxed bullpen.
The Tigers best offensive inning of the series was the bottom of the fourth. Nick Castellanos plated two runners with an RBI single, showing this team still can hit.
Even more exciting than the much-needed runs was the base running on the play. The speedy Victor Martinez was burning rubber, taking off from second and was able to take the extra base and score on a ball hit to left field.
VerHagen surrendered four runs in his 1 1/3 innings pitched before making way to the recently recalled Matt Boyd. Francisco Rodriguez was placed on the family medical emergency list resulting in Boyd’s promotion.
While VerHagen was not able to record as many outs as he needed to Boyd went 4 2/3 innings and took some pressure off the tired Tigers bullpen. Facing difficult circumstances Boyd was impressive in relief giving up no runs to close out the game after getting the call to Detroit on short notice. His Fastball and change up were located well and the newest addition to his arsenal, the slider, was used effectively.
Once again it was the bats that hurt the Tigers. Victor Martinez crushed an RBI double in the eight. Then things got interesting. Back-to-back hits followed by back-to-back walks left the bases loaded with two outs and Miguel Cabrera at the plate pinch hitting for Mike Aviles. Cabrera battled but the at-bat resulted in a weak pop up to first base leaving all three men on base.
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The Tigers would go quietly in the bottom of the ninth and drop this one 6-3. Dropping all three games of the series means this was Clevelands first three plus game series sweep of Detroit since the 2008 season.
Jordan Zimmermann looks to extend his scoreless innings streak tomorrow when the Detroit Tigers welcome the Oakland Athletics to Motown for a four game set. Detroit will need to salvage some games in this series after dropping below .500 for the first time this season.