1 - This gear
I am begging, begging MLB and its players to find a better way to pay tribute to their mothers than with the absolutely most garish shade of pink.
2 - Jake Rogers’ attempt to catch this third strike to Julio
The thing about this game was that the players on both teams were paying homage to all the ugly gear with some of the ugliest play of the year. It began right away with Julio the first runner to reach, doing so on a dropped third strike.
3 - This pitch to Javier Báez
It’s not the worst thing in the world to throw a pitch in the dirt to Javy, since there’s a good chance he’ll swing anyway. But both runners moved up on the wild pitch, which allowed the game’s first run to score on Javy’s subsequent grounder to shortstop that would otherwise have been a 6-4-3 double play.
4 - This swing from Tom Murphy
The last time that Tom Murphy played in Detroit, he did a cartwheel in the dugout after hitting a home run. This time, he’s whiffing at 78-mph pitches a foot inside.
5 - This balk call
The single most embarassing way to allow a run to score has to be on a balk, especially one as subtle as whatver it is that Wentz did here. But worse than just allowing J.P. Crawford to score, it allowed Ty France to take second base for free, which set him up to score on Julio’s single. In a sense, that’s allowing two runs off the same balk.
6 - Spencer Torkleson’s attempt to catch a pop-up
this flub gave teoscar another chance and prompted dave sims to say "he's just like the cat I had when I was a kid, got 19 lives" pic.twitter.com/V1rydFzGgK— Zach Gottschalk (@zgotty) May 14, 2023
This is your home park, buddy. You’ve gotta know where the rail is. This misplay allowed Teo another pitch, which he used to hit an RBI sac fly, taking the score to 3-1. But if you started thinking the Mariners had the sweep complete because they had a two-run lead in the third inning, you had not been paying attention to the tenor of the game.
7 - This pitch to Javier Báez
I think I would have scored this one as a passed ball rather than a wild pitch, which is what the official scorer did. But regardless, this allowed Riley Greene to get to second base. Guess what happened next? That’s right, he scored on a single. I’m not doing a bit. Through three innings, all five runs had scored with a but-for cause of wild pitches, missed pop-ups, and balks.
8 - Tom Murphy’s attempt to catch Javier Báez
With Báez on first after his single, he tried to take second on yet another passed ball. Once Murphy had the ball, he tried to catch Javy instead of just holding it. Big mistake. The ball ended up in centerfield, and Javy ended up on third base. Somehow, he didn’t score.
9 - This swing from Spencer Torkleson
Spencer Torkleson is unable to hold onto anything. I’m not even including the clip from the time a ball bounced out of his glove at first base since the runner was safe regardless.
10 - These splitters from Logan Gilbert/The Tigers’ attempts to hit them
In the fourth inning, Gilbert got back-to-back swinging strikeouts on his splitter! That’s definitely a good thing, but let’s see where he was trying to throw those.
Logan’s command was about as bad as I’ve seen it today, with his curveball the only pitch doing anything close to what he wanted it to. It’s a serious indictment of the Tigers’ offense that they couldn’t do more with this outing.
11 - Sam Haggerty’s route on Akil Baddoo’s RBI double
This tied the game at three runs apiece. To be fair to Haggerty, I think even an average left fielder does not get to this. But I am curious whether Jarred or TT snags that in the alternate universe where they were out there today.
12 - Matt Brash’s command
Why did a run score on an HBP? In no small part because Matt Brash had loaded the bases on a five pitch walk, which was only five pitches because pitch number four was erroneously called a strike. Brash followed this up with another four pitch walk, though with pitch two erronously called a ball. Performances like this are why it’s hard to believe that Brash is throwing the ball in the zone more in 2023 than he did in 2022. But it’s true. He’s also striking out 40% of the batters he faces while walking less than 10%, even after today, and trying to manage some bafflingly bad luck, most notably a .513 BABIP. And yet I understand everyone’s frustration with him. His ugly outings are so, so ugly; it doesn’t incline one to give him the benefit of the doubt.
13 - The Mariners’ cluster luck/situational hitting
To paraphrase Rep. Tom Emmer, the Tigers don’t have a pitching development department so much as they have people with titles that suggest that they do. Nonetheless, the Mariners couldn’t cash in today, leaving an unholy 12 runners on base.
14 - Alex Lange’s short sleeve mock turtleneck
With nary a speck of voluntary magenta, this lewk is what passed for the best-dressed player in today’s contest. And yet, even though the Mariners worked two walks off him, they couldn’t push a run across, ultimately losing 5-3.
So the Mariners took just two of three because it’s hard to sweep a team on the road, even the Tigers. But for as much as their playoff hopes are very much alive after the first 40 games, I would love it if they’d start being more consistently fun to watch. I’m hoping today was a low point. After so many games where the pitching locked it down but the offense couldn’t get going or vice versa, today brought us a game where nothing worked. If any of the starting pitching, bullpen, or offense had been just a little less sloppy, they could have capitalized on the Tigers’ slop shop of their own. I blame the gear.
And one beautiful thing
Speaking of fun to watch, the Sun Hat Award for making a noteworthy individual contribution to the game goes to J.P. Crawford, for: (1) two of the only convincing hits in the game, (2) good aggressive running to get to third base so he could score on that balk, and (3) a terrific play to get the lead runner in a fielder’s choice. Watch this space for more on Crawford’s excellence in all aspects of his game.