Tigers Get Zapped By Rays

It was Miguel Cabrera’s birthday, and the big fella celebrated the joyous occasion with a slice of birthday cake and a 450 ft. homerun off Matt Andriese. Unfortunately, none of his teammates felt like joining in on the festivities, as the Tigers dropped the series opener to the Rays 5-1.

More after this handy cut!

Michael Fulmer battled his way to a “””quality start””” and while the reigning Rookie of the Year was not at the top of his game, he gave his teammates a chance to win. Fulmer went six, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks, while accumulating five strikeouts. No, he certainly wasn’t at his best, but even Fulmer’s “not at his best” is good enough on most nights. Alas, it was not to be.

Tigers birthday boy. (Photo by Alexandra Simon)

The Tigers just couldn’t solve the Rays’ Andriese after the first inning and Andriese, at one point, had sent down twelve straight Tiger batters. The Tigers put together a promising looking rally in the seventh down 3-1, putting the potential tying run on the basepaths.

Unfortunately the rally quickly fizzled out as reliever Danny Farquhar came in and recorded a force out and a strike out, then Tommy Hunter finished off JaCoby Jones, getting him to line out Corey Dickerson in left. That was the Tigers’ last uprising of the game; two Rays relievers dispatched the Tigers easily in the eighth and ninth to end a 3-game Tampa losing streak.

One of these middle infielders is swinging a hot bat. (Photo by Alexandra Simon)

The Tigers lost Justin Upton to a forearm contusion in the seventh inning. He’s considered day to day. But aren’t we all?

Things of Note
• Kyle Ryan continues to struggle. The southpaw came in and once again failed to get lefties out. He allowed two insurance runs to push the score to 5-1 Tampa. At this point, I think you have to send him back to Toledo and recall Blaine Hardy. There was no indication after the game of any pending player personnel moves, though Hardy is eligible to be recalled.
• Shane Greene pitched 2/3 of an inning and got the Tigers out of Ryan’s mess, stanching the bleeding somewhat. He looked pretty good, striking out 2. Greene’s a key arm for the Tigers going forward.
• Despite getting bombed the other day in Cleveland, Anibal Sanchez giving the Tigers a couple innings meant they could save Warick Saupold, who made his 2017 debut in the ninth inning today. Saupold pitched a scoreless frame while collecting two strikeouts.
• Cabrera hit his second career birthday homer. It went an estimated 451 feet.
• X-Rays were negative for Upton after a disputed slide into second base in the seventh. The Rays had it reviewed for an illegal slide (Which would have resulted in a double play) but the original call stood.
• A beat writer reported two suitcases being wheeled out of the Tigers’ clubhouse. Breathless speculation soon followed, but as Bill Shea of Crain’s tweeted: “The suitcases CAME FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!”
• Alex Avila got a second straight start behind the plate. Before the season started, it seemed like Avila’s role would be strictly limited to James McCann’s backup. As McCann has struggled against righties, perhaps Avila could continue to pick up more starts against righties. That is, provided Avila keeps hitting righties.
• José Iglesias continues to swing a hot stick after going hitless in six of seven games to start the season. The shortstop went 1-for-3, and has recorded at least a hit in five straight games. Since a 2-for-25 start, Iglesias has gone 9-for-19.

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