The Detroit Tigers kicked off the 2020 season by showing they’ve yet to shake off the cobwebs from quarantine with a drab pitching performance and a lifeless offense versus the Reds on Friday evening.
Game 1: Cincinnati Reds 7- Detroit Tigers 1
Cincinnati jumped out early with two first-inning runs and was never seriously threatened for the remainder of the night. The Detroit Tigers’ offense put two runners on base in the first inning but then could not sustain anything remotely looking like a rally against Sonny Gray and the Reds relief crew.
Pre-season hype had many touting the Reds offense as a reason to feel they can contend in ‘20. The lid-lifter gave those holding that view some confidence as the Reds clouted two no-doubt homers and kept traffic steadily on the bags throughout.
Detroit Tigers on the hill:
Matthew Boyd was given the honor of an Opening Day start, something to be proud of in any pitcher’s career. The game, however, will only be memorable for Boyd in those nights you lay in bed thinking about games that got away.
Boyd was fortunate to escape an ugly first inning with only two Cincinnati runs crossing. Boyd wasn’t hit hard during the rally. A walk and two hit batsmen while Boyd fell behind hitters put the Reds in business. Boyd buckled down to limit the damage with a groundout and two infield pop-flys.
The Reds had all the runs they ultimately needed after one inning. However, that didn’t stop them from tacking on runs often throughout the rest of the night. Boyd grooved a belt-high fastball on the inner half to Joey Votto who did not miss it. It flew to the seats leading off the 5th. Boyd would exit soon after allowing four earned runs in five innings. He allowed 10 baserunners in total versus just 2 strikeouts. In all, it was far from the rousing start the Tigers needed from Boyd to light the season’s fuse.
From the bullpen, Jose Cisnero and David McKay combined to give up three runs to put the game out of reach. Gregory Soto and Buck Farmer had clean outings to mop up.
Detroit Tigers at the Dish:
Sonny Gray looked outstanding for nearly his whole six-inning stint and the Reds bullpen had a night to be proud of with three shutout innings. It has to be stated though…the level of resistance they encountered from the Detroit offense was modest for most of the game.
Gray struck out nine batters in six frames allowing only three hits and two walks. The former Vandy star also induced two double plays as he more or less breezed through the outing. Gray averaged merely 15 pitches per inning with plenty of soft outs.
The Tigers one beacon of hope on the night was newly acquired, CJ Cron. In addition to a base on balls, Cron absolutely hammered one of Gray’s only mistakes deep into the left-field bleachers. The 477’ missile was the Tigers only scoring play of the night.
Jonathan Schoop and JaCoby Jones added two singles to the attack and that, as they say, was that.
Niko Goodrum will look to rebound quickly from a three strikeout night that also saw him hit into a double-play.
Detroit Tigers in the Field:
Goodrum did make a nice diving stab to his right to rob ex-teammate Nick Castellanos of a sharp single in the 5th.
Manager Ron Gardenhire was shown at least three times wearing his mask as a chin-warmer which isn’t quite in the spirit of things. Cover the mouth/nose, Ron. score that one “E-Skip”.
On Saturday afternoon the Tigers will send Ivan Nova to the mound in his Tigers debut. Nova allowed 30 homers for the ChiSox last year and he’ll be challenged to keep the Reds from hitting bombs out of Great American Ball Park.
Detroit will face-off versus last year’s Opening Day starter for Cincinnati, Luis Castillo. Castillo’s power-packed repertoire should very likely be another tall hill for the light hitting Tigers to climb.