Detroit Tigers P Tarik Skubal says 1st start of 2023 was a ‘success’

Tarik Skubal impressed in his 2023 debut, but the Detroit Tigers were once again shut out.

Tarik Skubal impressed in his first start of 2023 for the Detroit Tigers in his debut since undergoing surgery last year, but it was the offense that let him and the rest of the team down in what was a 1-0 loss in extra innings to the lowly Oakland Athletics tonight at Comerica Park.

Tarik Skubal,Detroit Tigers

Tarik Skubal impressed in his Detroit Tigers season debut

Skubal didn't allow a single hit in the four innings that he pitched while also striking out six Athletics batters.

“I'm healthy, and it was fun to go out there and compete,” he said. “That's kind of what the goal was, to feel good coming out of it, and I do. I'd say that's a success. The nerves were definitely there, but it was good to get back out there and do what I do.”

He had been activated off the 60-Day IL prior to today's game; he last pitched in August last season, finishing 2022 with a 7-8 record and 3.52 ERA before having to undergo flexor tendon surgery.

A.J. Hinch despises what took place tonight in terms of offense

While Detroit's pitching staff did their jobs, the offense stranded too many batters and failed to send a single baserunner across home plate, adding another notch in the column of their shutout losses which lead the rest of the Majors.

These are not games that the Tigers can afford to give away, and in what should have been an easy win on paper against Oakland, Detroit was instead left scratching their heads.

“I hate the loss,” the frustrated A.J. Hinch said. “We had every chance to win the game. I think I counted seven at-bats that were pretty critical. We drew two walks. They won every other at-bat with the game on the line at various points. When that happens it’s frustrating.”

There was a bit of a scare during the game when Skubal appeared to be shaken up, but Hinch was relieved when learning that it was a simple cramp.

“I held my breath as long as I could. I didn't know going out (to the mound),” Hinch said. “Once he said his leg was cramping, we all exhaled a little bit.”

Key Points

  • Tonight was the 2023 debut of Tarik Skubal
  • He hadn't pitched since last August and his subsequent flexor tendon surgery
  • He didn't allow a single run against Oakland
  • The Tigers' offense failed to deliver and was shut out yet again
  • A.J. Hinch “hated” what he saw in terms of the loss

Bottom Line: The Tigers must rebound tomorrow

As stated before, the Tigers cannot afford to give away games to teams they should absolutely beat. They'll have a chance to right the ship tomorrow when they get another pitcher back from the IL in Eduardo Rodriguez.

In the meantime, it was a positive sign to see Skubal pitch so well after having not been on the mound for Detroit in nearly a full calendar year.