Detroit – Now, it’s serious.
The Tigers were embarrassed Saturday by the Indians in a 10-1 walloping at Comerica Park that led to a post-game team meeting and some apparently stern words from Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
“There was discussion – let’s leave it at that,” Ausmus said after the Tigers had lost their third consecutive game in which they’ve scored a combined two runs.
“We got our (tails) kicked today and I don’t like it.”
On an otherwise lovely day flooded with sunshine, a crowd of 31,163 (tickets sold) witnessed a nine-inning rout in which neither the Tigers’ starting pitching nor their hitters were close to competitive.
Anibal Sanchez started for the Tigers and ignited a fire: a nine-hit, seven-run conflagration during a gruesome appearance that lasted only 2.1 innings.
“I would like to give really good answers, but I don’t know, I can’t answer,” said Sanchez, speaking of his struggles and clearly as befuddled as the rest of a Tigers team that began smartly in April but has since dropped to 8-8.
Sanchez was joined Saturday by hitters who haven’t had many answers of late. The Tigers were shut out Thursday at Kansas City, got a single run Friday in the Indians series opener, and then scored a lone run Saturday when Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a supposed backup catcher, slammed his sixth homer this month.
Indians starter Corey Kluber, a past Cy Young Award winner, had been having earlier issues that gave way Saturday to some old-fashioned Kluber-style mastery.
In an eight-inning stint he allowed two hits, struck out 10, walked none, and confined any mistakes to a low, mid-plate fastball in the fifth that Saltalamacchia walloped deep into the right-field seats.
The Tigers’ only other hit: a ground single to left in the second by J.D. Martinez.
Nothing changed for two Tigers hitters who have had particularly tough stretches: Miguel Cabrera, who was 0-for-3, despite nearly knocking shortstop Francisco Lindor into the outfield seats with a lightning-bolt ground ball in the seventh; and left-fielder Justin Upton, who struck out three times in three at-bats.
“It’s clearly something with my timing or mechanical,” said Upton, who is batting .217, with 30 strikeouts in 16 games. “It’s just not clicking right now.”
Which, as a manager and his players understand, might be said for an entire Tigers team.