2019 Matthew Boyd finally arrived in 2020.
Boyd shut down the streaking Royals in game one of the two-game series and received plenty of offensive support as Jakob Junis suffered on the mound.
Although Jonathan Schoop hit the 10-day IL before the game, his teammates made up for the loss, amassing six runs on 14 hits.
After getting swept by the White Sox over the weekend, the Tigers grabbed a much-needed win to hold onto their slim playoff chances.
Boyd Cruises to Best Start of Season
The lack of soft fly balls from Boyd has decimated his ERA in 2020, but it became his biggest asset on Tuesday. Of his four flyouts, the xBA (expected batting average) for each were .010, .010, .010 and .150.
Altogether, ten of the balls put in play by the Royals had an xBA of .150 or less.
These numbers mean Boyd induced a lot of soft contact and minimal hard contact, which led to his most impressive start of the season.
Boyd utilized the slider only 11 times out of a season-high 105 pitches, about 15 percent less often than usual.
Boyd worked out of two jams with two men on, once in the first and another in the third.
A couple of 1-2-3 innings between the jams allowed Boyd to pitch into the 6th inning, where he ultimately found himself in yet another mess.
Boyd wanted the opportunity to complete the trifecta and get out of his third jam of the game after allowing back to back walks, but Gardenhire made the motion to the bullpen for Jose Cisnero.
The righty prevailed, getting Edward Olivares to softly ground into a fielder’s choice, once again wasting an opportunity with runners on base.
Once again, the Royals squandered a chance in the 7th inning and failed to manufacture any runs in the 8th or 9th. Buck Farmer sent down the heart of the Kansas City order as the setup man in the 8th and newly promoted closer Bryan Garcia finished the job to bring Detroit the 6-0 win.
AL Player of the Week Success Lingers
The reigning AL Player of the Week, Jeimer Candelario, has no sense of time.
The Candy Man smashed the ball once again, going 3 for 5 with two runs scored to extend his award-winning week.
Two of his three singles came off the fastball, a pitch that Candelario learned to destroy this season. The impressive night brings Candelario’s average to .333, good for 3rd amongst qualified hitters in the American League.
The run support for Boyd began early tonight, aided by the return of Niko Goodrum.
After Willi Castro lined a fastball to center and Miguel moved him to second with a walk, Goodrum sent a pitch to left field to plate the game’s first run.
The inning wasn’t over though, as fellow hot bat Jorge Bonifacio continued his tear, with a two-run single up the middle.
Bonafacio now sports a .391 average over his last seven games, adding to the many surprises that have taken at-bats for the Tigers this season.
Miguel Cabrera tallied number 483 in the third inning on Monday, giving the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the process. That opposite-field bomb gave Cabrera now six on the season and his first in September.
The Tigers would load the bases directly after Miggy’s blast but only scored one extra run via an Austin Romine sacrifice fly to make it a 5-0 game.
Then in the 6th inning, for good measure, Willi Castro smacked a changeup in between the two bullpens for his 4th of the year.
The Tigers still need a lot of help to advance to the postseason.
They did get some help with losses from the Indians, Blue Jays, and Orioles, though.
Even after a win tonight, ESPN has their playoff probability at 1.4%. It’ll take a miracle for October baseball in Detroit, but if you had told me last year the Tigers still even had a chance to make the playoffs as of September 16th, I would have taken that chance.
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