Advertisement

Detroit Tigers fail to recover from missed opportunity in 5-0 loss to Texas Rangers

The Detroit Tigers had their chance — bases loaded, no outs — in the second inning against Texas Rangers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, one of the best pitchers in the month of May.

But the Tigers stranded the runners and lost to the Rangers, 5-0, in Monday's series opener at Comerica Park. Eovaldi walked a season-high three batters, but he pitched five scoreless innings and owns a 0.77 ERA over 46⅔ innings in his past six starts, dating back to April 29.

The Tigers (25-27) have been plagued by missed opportunities for virtually the entire season. This time, they finished 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base.

EVAN PETZOLD: The Tigers aren't afraid to say it: Postseason. Why you shouldn't be, either.

JEFF SEIDEL: This Tigers team is different, and it starts with the magic of Riley Greene

Detroit Tigers right fielder Zach McKinstry watches a home run hit by Texas Rangers' Corey Seager during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Monday, May 29, 2023, in Detroit at Comerica Park.
Detroit Tigers right fielder Zach McKinstry watches a home run hit by Texas Rangers' Corey Seager during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Monday, May 29, 2023, in Detroit at Comerica Park.

In the second inning, the Tigers loaded the bases with Spencer Torkelson's walk, Nick Maton's walk and Akil Baddoo's single. Those three batters forced Eovaldi to throw 14 pitches.

He needed six pitches to escape the jam without damage. Eric Haase grounded into a force out (at home plate) on four pitches, and Andy Ibáñez grounded into an inning-ending double play on two pitches.

Ibáñez finished 0-for-4 with one strikeout in Monday's loss and has one hit in his last 40 at-bats. The Tigers received their five hits from Baddoo, Riley Greene (two hits), Zach McKinstry and Javier Báez and had five walks from Baddoo, McKinstry, Torkelson, Maton and Haase.

In the third inning, the Tigers stranded runners on the corners when Torkelson grounded out. Báez struck out swinging on a curveball in the opposite batter's box between singles from McKinstry and Greene.

Nathan Eovaldi of the Texas Rangers throws a first-inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 29, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.
Nathan Eovaldi of the Texas Rangers throws a first-inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 29, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.

Eovaldi, a 12-year MLB veteran, allowed four hits and three walks and added four strikeouts. He walked three batters in an outing for the first time this season and failed to strike out at least five batters for the first time this season.

But he did enough to beat the Tigers.

Boyd stumbles again

Left-hander Matthew Boyd dominated through three innings, worked around two base runners and shaky command in the fourth inning before crumbling in the fifth inning.

He walked ex-Tiger Robbie Grossman to start the fifth. Then he recorded back-to-back outs before walking Marcus Semien.

Corey Seager, one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball, made Boyd pay for his walks by crushing a three-run home run for a 3-0 lead. He hit a first-pitch curveball, which hung over the heart of the plate, over the wall in right-center field.

RILEY RULES: In May, Riley Greene is carrying the Tigers and finally unlocking pull-side power

THE APPROACH: Planning for quality plate appearances is deceptively simple: 'Get a good pitch to hit'

Detroit Tigers' Matthew Boyd pitches against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of a baseball game at Comerica Park on Monday, May 29, 2023, in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers' Matthew Boyd pitches against the Texas Rangers during the second inning of a baseball game at Comerica Park on Monday, May 29, 2023, in Detroit.

Boyd bounced back with a scoreless sixth inning but wasn't sharp in the seventh. Once again, he walked Grossman to start the inning. Right-handed reliever Mason Englert replaced Boyd after an ensuing single from Leody Taveras.

The Rangers tacked on two more runs, taking a 5-0 lead, with Englert on the mound in the seventh. Semien's sacrifice fly and Seager's single drove in the runs, both charged to Boyd's final line.

Boyd allowed five runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts across six innings, throwing 50 of 87 pitches for strikes. He threw more sliders (29) than four-seam fastballs (22).

The 32-year-old, who signed a one-year, $10 million contract in the offseason, has a 5.96 ERA in 10 starts this season.

Detroit Tigers second baseman Zach McKinstry hits a single in the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on May 29, 2023 in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers second baseman Zach McKinstry hits a single in the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on May 29, 2023 in Detroit.

Another missed opportunity

Trailing 5-0, the Tigers had their best chance at a comeback in the eighth inning against right-handed reliever Jonathan Hernández. McKinstry walked on four pitches to start the inning, and Greene hit a first-pitch fastball for a single with one out.

The next two batters stranded the runners: Torkelson struck out swinging and Jonathan Schoop popped out.

INCOMING: 'He was nasty': Tigers' Tarik Skubal throws to hitters for first time since injury

JEFF SEIDEL: Most valuable Tigers this month — three hitting coaches — don't even play in the games

The Tigers were sent down in order in the sixth and seventh innings by members of the Rangers' bullpen. In the ninth, Baddoo drew a walk to start the inning before Haase grounded into a double play.

As for the Tigers' bullpen, Englert threw 34 pitches across the seventh and eighth innings, while Alexander tossed nine pitches in the ninth.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Missed opportunities cost Detroit Tigers in 5-0 loss to Texas Rangers