The Detroit Tigers closed out their 10-game road trip Thursday afternoon against the Chicago White Sox. They came into the series with a 4-3 record on the road trip, having taken two of three from the Minnesota Twins, and winning the latter two games of the 4-game set against the Kansas City Royals. Despite the series loss and a .500 road trip, there is a lot to take away from this series on the south side of Chicago.
GAME 1: CHICAGO 5, DETROIT 2
WP: Jeff Samardzija (2-2)
LP: Shane Greene (3-2)
S: David Robertson (4)
The Tigers struggled to get anything going against White Sox starter Jeff Samardzija for the second time this season. Samardzija went seven strong innings, only yielding two earned runs on seven hits to Tigers bats. In two starts now against Detroit, he is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 15 innings pitched.
Three Tigers hitters had multi-hit games on Tuesday. Second baseman Ian Kinsler and catcher Alex Avila each had two hits on the day and drove in a run. Center fielder Anthony Gose also had two hits on the day and scored one of the two Tigers runs.
The Tigers 3-6 hitters were a combined 0-15 with one walk, courtesy of left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Detroit’s streaky starter Shane Greene had trouble with his location again on Tuesday, as he did not even make it through the third inning. All five earned runs were charged to Greene, but the biggest issue was the four walks he issued to White Sox hitters in just 2 2/3 innings.
If there is a positive to take away from this game, it is that the bullpen pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings following Greene’s departure. A combination of Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, and Angel Nesbitt gave up just one hit and one walk.
GAME 2: CHICAGO 7, DETROIT 6
WP: Zach Putnam (1-1)
LP: Joba Chamberlain (0-1)
S: David Robertson (5)
The Tigers were in prime position to win game two of the three-game set, in what was a good starting pitching match-up on paper, between Tigers starter Alfredo Simon and White Sox starter Chris Sale.
Tigers got to Sale early in the contest, which is very hard to do. He was charged with five earned runs through 5 1/3 innings on the day. Like Greene for Detroit the night before, Sale struggled with his location, as he walked five batters in his outing.
Simon pitched alright, given who he was going up against. He gave the Tigers a chance to win, giving up just three earned runs through five innings of work, but walked four batters.
Detroit got a big day from designated hitter Victor Martinez, who has had difficulty getting anything going as he fights through an aching knee problem. Victor went 2-for-4 on the day and drove in four runs. The Tigers continue to get good play from players who aren’t playing everyday, center fielder Rajai Davis and backup catcher James McCann. Davis went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, and McCann recorded a 3-hit game. Both continue to produce at the dish.
Tigers bullpen pitchers Al Alburquerque, Tom Gorzelanny, and Angel Nesbitt each came in following Simon and recorded a hold, keeping the White Sox tally at 3. Then Joba Chamberlain came into the game and things went awry in a heartbeat. Joba was rocked for four earned runs and six hits in just 2/3 innings, including a game-tying 3-run home run to Melky Cabrera, Former Tiger Avisail Garcia eventually landed the dagger with a go-ahead RBI single to put the Sox up 7-6 going into the 9th inning. Detroit had a runner on 3rd base in the top half of the 9th, but a base running blunder McCann and a groundout by Jose Iglesias would seal the Tigers fate.
GAME 3: DETROIT 4, CHICAGO 1
WP: Kyle Lobstein (3-2)
LP: Jose Quintana (1-3)
S: Joakim Soria (11)
After losing the first two games in the series, including game two in heartbreaking fashion, Detroit was asking a lot out of young starter Kyle Lobstein, who continues to pitch in place of the injured Justin Verlander. He would live up to the tall task Thursday afternoon.
Lobstein arguably had his best outing of the season so far, pitching into the 8th inning, giving up just one run on five hits. The one run was unearned too, because of a throwing error by Ian Kinsler that allowed Melky Cabrera to reach base. Another RBI base hit by former Tiger Garcia eventually scored Melky Cabrera, but that is all Chicago would muster against Lobstein. It was the third straight start of at least seven innings pitched for Kyle, as he continues to give Detroit not only a chance to win every time he is on the mound, but a valuable arm moving forward.
The Tigers bats were cooled off again on Thursday, but got enough run support to back up Lobstein’s pitching gem. Victor Martinez had another good game, racking up three hits and another RBI on the afternoon. His batting average slowly begins to climb after gathering five hits in the last two games. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and third baseman Nick Castellanos each chipped in with another run batted in as well.
Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez continues to struggle mightily at the plate. Martinez is in a current 0-for-21 slump, with 15 strikeouts and four base on balls. Hopefully returning back to the friendly confines of Comerica Park will perk up his bat again.
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