Detroit Tigers offense shut down by Kansas City Royals’ Brady Singer, great start by Matthew Boyd wasted
Detroit – The media isn’t allowed in the clubhouse these days, but even through the zoom lens, the growing frustration can be felt.
“It’s pretty high,” admitted Tiger manager AJ Hinch after his team’s offensive ineptitude squandered Matthew Boyd’s brilliant game with a 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. “As you would expect, there are some of those losses. We’re better than we played and we get them handed out quite often.
“Right now our boys are pretty frustrated and honestly angry.”
Here’s the ugly summary: The Tigers lost eight of their last nine, scoring a total of 18 runs in those nine (two runs per game). You also hit 89 times on this track, 10 times on Saturday.
“Hitting is hard,” said Hinch. “Jugs won’t just feed you fastballs and break balls to hit. Right now (jugs) smell blood in the water and they’re chasing you.”
Royals starter Brady Singer went to the Tigers Saturday like it was personal. And maybe it was.
The Tigers didn’t take him with the first overall pick in 2018. They took Casey Mize. Seventeen teams passed Singer on until the Royals grabbed him with an 18th overall victory. But it seems like since then he has punished the tigers more than the others.
He knocked out eight Tigers in seven innings on Saturday and the only damage was a solo home run against Willi Castro in the fifth.
“We had a hard time with him,” said Hinch. “He’s a good pitcher, a good young arm. It looked like his ball was moving pretty late and he’s got a fast pace, so it looks like he’s jumping a bit on you. But his stuff is real.”
He threw two pitches, a power sinker at 94-95 mph and a slider with a speed range between 82 and 87 mph.
“It’s easy to use, but that doesn’t make things easy,” said Hinch. “It’s pretty electric.”
Singer, who allowed three hits in seven innings, has now beaten the Tigers three times in four starts and allowed only four runs in 25 innings.
“Hats off to Singer,” said Boyd, who has four quality starts in five games and lowered his ERA to 1.82. “There are ways we can all get better. We’ll move forward and keep getting better as a team.
“These games are happening. We’ll be on the other side soon.”
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Boyd threw eight innings for the second straight start. And with the exception of the fifth inning, seven of them were the perfect Saturday. The Royals racked up all three hits and both runs (one of which earned) in the fifth.
“He was amazing,” said Hinch. “It is unfortunate for all of us that we couldn’t win a game like this. He had all his pitches in operation. He dominated with strikes on the first pitch. He was in complete control.”
BOX SCORE: Royals 2, Tigers 1
Boyd moved his fastball with four seams in all quadrants of the plate and threw 21 changes against a right-handed Royals line-up. The 10 that were put into play had an average exit speed of only 81 mph.
But it was the one bad one that got him into trouble on the fifth.
Jorge Soler led away with a double. Boyd had outdone him with changes with 0-2 and only missed with another. But the fourth move, which he made 2-2, turned out to be one too many.
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“The situation was fine,” said Boyd. “But I stood on my side (which means his hand is on the ball) and that made it go a little bit more than run and sink. It gave him a chance.
“If it’s on one level instead of a multiple level, it gives the guys a chance.”
With one mistake, Hanser Alberto prevailed against Soler. Soler faced an outfield player choice made by Andrew Benintendi. The first baseman Jonathan Schoop threw on the second to get a force on Alberto.
“When (Schoop) left his feet, I thought he was going to throw home,” said Hinch. “I think he instinctively turned and threw in second place. That was his reaction.”
With two outs, Michael A. Taylor hit to the right. Victor Reyes tried ill-advised to put Benintendi in third place. Reyes’ throw hit Benintendi and allowed him to score.
It shouldn’t have been enough to beat Boyd, however. He only hit three, but he induced mostly soft contact with his four-stitched fastball (average exit speed of 87 mph with 10 balls in play), the transition (81 mph with 10 balls in play), and his slider (77 mph) brought into play on three).
He only needed 89 pitches to survive eight innings.
But aside from Castro’s explosion – his first homer of the season on his 24th birthday – the Tigers haven’t put a runner in goal position.
“Just keep encouraging,” said Hinch. “It’s not an easy skill. They try to make adjustments and get balls into play and they try to take advantage of weaknesses. … It’s not about effort or preparation.
“It’s a focus every day. But I can’t beat them all the time and expect better results. They just keep encouraging and making adjustments.”
Help could be on the way. The Tigers announced after the game that Miguel Cabrera would be removed from the injured (bicep strain) list on Sunday.
Twitter @ cmccosky