Despite some early offensive struggles, the Detroit Tigers were able to get in the win column in their second game against the Cincinnati Reds
The Detroit Tigers struggled early on in their second game against the Cincinnati Reds and it felt like we were in for more of the same we saw yesterday: a lot of swings and misses and not much run-scoring. After a first-inning double in the left-field corner by the sizzling CJ Cron, Detroit would not score again before Reds’ starter Luis Castillo left after 6 stellar innings.
A pair of home runs from the Reds had them ahead 3-1 for much of the game until Austin Romine would homer in the 7th inning followed by a Miguel Cabrera 2-run shot deep to left field that made it 4-3 Tigers. Tyler Alexander would enter and give up a home run of his own; this one to Detroit Tigers draftee Curt Casali which tied the game at 4.
The clubs would remain in lockstep until JaCoby Jones would smash a two-run home run to left-center field in the top of the 9th and Joe Jimenez would close it out for the save.
Detroit Tigers on the hill
Detroit Tigers starter Ivan Nova did about what we have expected from him for the Tigers: eat innings and limit the damage. Nova used all of his pitches early on and showed good fading action on his changeup. His command was not always there, especially with his fastball–as evidenced by his four walks in just five innings, but if this is the Ivan Nova we have for the remainder of the season, it is a Nova we at least have a chance to win with.
Alexander threw 1.2 innings following Nova and giving up just the solo home run. A curious decision by Gardenhire to use Alexander in somewhat of a high-leverage situation; but for now, it appears that Alexander will be the arm used in short starts or when there is a need for multiple innings from the bullpen regardless of the situation or point in the game.
Garcia pitched just an out–his command with the fastball challenged him this outing, but his velocity was encouraging; consistently hitting 95 mph with his heater.
Farmer continues to be the most consistent arm in the Tigers bullpen by working a scoreless 8th inning with just a walk. Joe Jimenez shut the door with the exact same line as Farmer; topping out at 95 mph with his fastball. An interesting note on Jimenez was his ability to use his slider on the inside part of the plate. It will be curious to see if this was an intentional use of the pitch as he had good success backing it up inside against right-handed batters.
Detroit Tigers at the dish
The Detroit Tigers seemed to be in for more trouble after the hard-hit double by Cron in the first; as Reds’ starting pitcher Luis Castillo was able to leverage his changeup down in the strike zone to yield plenty of swings and misses. Strikeouts continue to be a problem for the Tigers; they would strike out 17 times today–good for 33 times in their first two games. Not an exciting start for a team that has publicly stated they have been trying to cut down their strikeout numbers as a team.
Home runs by JaCoby Jones and Miguel Cabrera were a welcomed sight for a team that was 29th in the league in home runs last season. Jones had attempted and failed to bunt early in the count in the 9th inning but was forced to swing away with two strikes when he would hit his go-ahead 2-run shot. Cabrera was 0 for his first 7 to start the season before turning on a high and inside floater for his first home run. Cabrera struck out four times Saturday night.
Detroit Tigers in the field
Niko Goodrum got ate up by a line drive in-between hop early in the game but would make several smooth plays to redeem himself throughout the remainder of the game. Goodrum also made a nice play last night to get former teammate Nicholas Castellanos at first.
CJ Cron, an underrated defensive first baseman, made a diving stab going to his left on a Joey Votto ground ball and was able to tag the base with his glove to get the out.
Detroit will finish up their series with Cincinnati Sunday at 1:10 EST before going home Monday with Spencer Turnbull facing off against Reds righty Trevor Bauer. Only Freddie Galvis and Mike Moustakas have any history facing Turnbull; Galvis 0 for 2 and the Moose 1 for 2.
The Tigers have several hitters who have done well against Bauer–with Miguel Cabrera, Niko Goodrum, Harold Castro, Grayson Greiner, and Jordy Mercer have all hit at least .300 in their respective careers against the polarizing starting pitcher.