The Detroit Tigers returned to the friendly confines of Comerica Park Friday night to begin a series against the Toronto Blue Jays and attempt to keep up the momentum from their two-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be.
Tigers pitcher Elvin Rodriguez surrendered eight runs in just 4 1/3 innings of work – not exactly the kind of return to action that he was hoping for after having given up 10 in 4 1/3 innings of work in his last start against the New York Yankees. Toronto would eventually enjoy a 10-1 triumph, improving to 34-23 so far in 2022. Meanwhile, with yet another disappointing offensive performance, the Tigers fell back to 11 games below the .500 mark at 23-34.
Meanwhile, it was a rough outing for struggling shortstop Javier Baez, who felt the wrath of just over 26,000 fans in attendance as he struck out for the 50th time this year. So far in 2022, he's batting a mere .196, which is certainly not what the team (or Baez himself) was envisioning when he inked his deal during the offseason.
However, manager A.J. Hinch came to his defense afterward, saying that they must support one another.
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch says the team will support Baez
“I didn't see anything different out of him as I have any other night,” Hinch said. “I think he's continuing to search for solutions, and obviously, the more he's struggled, the more frustrated people have become.
“We've got to put our arms around him and get him in a better place. We are not going anywhere without the production of Javy Báez, whether it's this series, this season or in the coming years. He's on our side. He's wearing our uniform. We're going to support him.”
Meanwhile, the Tigers immediately optioned Rodriguez to Triple-A Toledo after the game and will announce a corresponding move later today. The second game of their series will begin today at 4:10 PM EST.