Detroit Tigers: Close games and clutch performers
With a 5-4 victory over Kansas City on Thursday, the Detroit Tigers won their third one-run game already on the new season.
Three of Detroit’s first five victories have been by one run, and the other two wins by just two runs. Let’s take a look at some of the Detroit Tigers’ top clutch performers in this young season’s close games.
Detroit Tigers- Niko Goodrum
Infielder Niko Goodrum felt right at home on Thursday when the Tigers had their first game of 2019 inside the friendly confines of Comerica Park. Goodrum had a few solid performances at the plate in the first couple of series on the road but was absolutely on fire at home in Detroit on Thursday. Niko brought in three RBIs, his first of the season, and even with two of those coming on a fielder’s choice and a walk, this Tigers team needs as much run production as they can get.
Goodrum also had three hits and accounted for one run scored in the 4-3 extra innings win over Toronto on Sunday. Overall, he has played a key role in helping Detroit manufacture runs to help pull off these close victories. If his performance on Thursday is any indicator, Goodrum is really starting to show he is worthy of the important cleanup spot behind Castellanos and Cabrera.
Detroit Tigers- Jeimer Candelario
Though he didn’t record a hit in Thursday’s home opener, Jeimer Candelario has come through for Detroit in some key points in the first couple of series. Most notably, the “Candy Man” knocked in two RBIs and recorded his first career five-hit game in the Tigers’ win over the Blue Jays on Sunday. Jeimer also got himself on base with two hits and crossed the plate once in Detroit’s 3-1 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.
Though his performances at the plate have not quite been consistent so far, Candelario has, for the most part, come up big for the Tigers when needed. If Jeimer can start producing with his bat on a consistent day-by-day basis, he can further solidify himself as a crucial asset in the middle of Detroit’s lineup.
Detroit Tigers- Matt Boyd
What can we say about Matt Boyd’s first two starts of 2019 that hasn’t been said already? Through just over eleven innings pitched this season, Boyd has 23 punch outs and only allowed ten hits. Though he did take a losing decision in his first start in Toronto, it was still an impressive outing largely hampered by a lack of run support from the Tigers’ offense. Boyd’s second start on Wednesday in the Bronx saw him allow only one run and record a career-high 13 Ks, helping the Detroit squeak out a 2-1 victory and steal the series from the Yankees.
With Jordan Zimmermann and Matt Boyd both looking in peak performance mode to start the 2019 season, Detroit’s starting pitching isn’t feeling nearly as much of the effects of losing Michael Fulmer than initially thought. If these two, and especially Boyd, can keep delivering starts like this from the mound, it could turn into a key one-two punch at the top of Detroit’s rotation.
Who do you think has been coming up in the clutch for the Tigers so far this season? Feel free to let us know in the comments section down below.