Detroit - The Tigers entered Sunday afternoon with a chance to climb their way back to .500 after falling as many as five games below even. By the time 4pm rolled around, not only had Detroit reached 16-16 on the season, but also claimed their first three-game sweep against the Twins since September of 2016.
Mize + flawless bullpen performance
Each start that Casey Mize makes this season will be viewed with a rather watchful eye, although rational people understand that there will be ups and downs.
Mize navigated through control issues but managed to keep his team in a position to win the game. Very seldom, if ever, will a final line for the Tigers' No.1 pitching prospect include three hit batsmen. In fact, it never happened in college or the minor leagues, although that rare occurrence did take place on Sunday in addition to two walks.
Throughout the course of 3 innings, Mize allowed two hits, two earned runs, walked two and struck out four on 67 pitches.
In relief, Tyler Alexander threw 33 of his 49 pitches for strikes while setting the stage for a memorable bullpen performance. Alexander went 3 ⅔ innings before giving way to Joe Jimenez with two outs in the 7th inning.
A clash with Nelson Cruz was the gift awarded to Jimenez, not exactly the warm welcome you'd like to be greeted with while trying to regain your confidence.
Cruz began the day tied for the MLB lead in home runs (13) but ended it watching his 11-game hit streak at Comerica Park come to an abrupt end. Jimenez needed four pitches and utilized a 1-2 slider to get Cruz to chase and ultimately end a theatrical late-inning clash.
For now, Jimenez has lost his 9th inning privileges, but the celebration that we typically see after he makes a save returned on Sunday afternoon. A 1-2-3 eighth inning from Buck Farmer and Gregory Soto's second save in as many days closed out a 3-2 win.
We've reached a point where it feels as though Miguel Cabrera is writing his name in the history books on a daily basis.
On Saturday, he joined the top 50 all-time in career hits. Sunday, Cabrera entered the day with 1,999 hits in a Tigers uniform, and his RBI single in the bottom of the first made him the eighth player to reach 2,000 hits wearing the English D.
"Honestly, it's like every time he gets a hit we get the ball," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "This time it was 2,000 hits with the Tigers, and I looked around and thought the rest of the team doesn't have 2,000 hits."
Cabrera, 37, joined Allen Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer, Al Kaline and Ty Cobb in Tigers lore.
After battling his way through a forgettable stretch at the plate, the future Hall of Famer now has 12 hits, 9 RBI, 1 HR and zero strikeouts in his last seven games.
The latest accomplishment was yet another testament to the consistency of Miguel Cabrera. He also joins Albert Pujols as the second active player in the MLB to have 2,000 hits with one team.
Wild Card race?
After losing nine in a row through the middle of an up and down month of August--the Tigers( 16-16) have suddenly strung together three consecutive series wins. This streak marks the first time since the summer of 2018 that we've said that.
The trade deadline is only hours away, which means it's the time of the year when teams are pondering the decision of whether they'll buy or sell. The Tigers are now two games back of the Blue Jays for the final AL playoff spot.
"In our situation, we're not looking to add a big piece or trade away any of our good prospects," general manager Al Avila said. "At the same time, if we had a player we felt a team needed from us and we can better ourselves for next year or the near future, then we have to be open-minded to that."
"But if that type of deal is not there, we'll keep our team," Avila said. "We like our team. We will keep it together and keep trying to win. Even if we make a trade, that's still our goal, to continue to win more games this year and to for sure make ourselves better for next year and the years going forward."
The uncanny resiliency of this team has to leave you legitimately convinced that they have a shot to compete down the final half of this shortened season.
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