Detroit — He hopes it will be a short stint at Triple A Toledo.
And that’s because even at this early stage of the 26-year-old starter’s career, Matthew Boyd has pitched well enough, regularly enough, to believe his Friday relocation to the minors will soon restore the zip and command he showed during April and in spring camp.
The Tigers are replacing him with left-handed reliever Daniel Stumpf, who has been pitching well for the Mud Hens, with a 2.89 ERA in his last 10 games.
“It’s OK,” Boyd said as he packed a travel bag and prepared to join the Mud Hens, which likely won’t happen until the team begins a home series Monday. “I put myself in this hole four starts ago. My first four were good, my last four haven’t been.
“I’ve got to get back to being me and going after hitters.”
Boyd’s strong Grapefruit League stints gave way to a fine April: 2-1 record and 3.86 ERA.
But the month of May was not so merry: 0-4, with a 7.28 ERA and awful 2.02 WHIP. Boyd allowed 49 hits in 29 2/3 innings.
The Tigers won’t need another starter until later next week, at which time it’s likely they’ll summon Buck Farmer for a rotation turn.
Stumpf was snared by the Tigers during December’s Rule 5 draft but didn’t make the active roster during spring camp. Although first-time Rule 5 draftees must be returned to their previous team — in Stumpf’s case, the Royals — a second-time Rule 5 player has the right to reject a return trip.
Stumpf did exactly that and signed on with the Tigers, hoping a promotion might eventuate, which happened Friday.
Stumpf is 26 and was a ninth-round Royals pick in 2012 when he pitched at San Jacinto (Texas) College.
These were not Miguel Cabrera-like numbers. Not in any category.
Batting average: .260 heading into Friday night’s Tigers-White Sox game (60 points beneath his career number). On-base percentage: .372 (26 points below the norm). Slugging percentage: .411 (.559 for his 15 years in the big leagues), as well as OPS: .783 (nearly 200 points beneath his big-league clip of .958).
He had averaged 34 home runs a season and Friday owned all of five homers for 2017. He has slammed 40 doubles, on balance, each year but his pregame Friday number was seven.
It all changed later Friday with the suddenness and firepower Cabrera uniquely tends to bring to his at-bats.
First inning: line-drive RBI double to deep right-center field.
Second inning: Missile-grade double against the left-center field fence, scoring two more Tigers runs.
Third inning: Broken-bat sacrifice fly to the warning track in right field good for a fourth RBI.
Fifth inning: Slashing single to right center.
Cabrera, in the span of three hours, added 35 points to his batting average, which now is .275.
Ausmus had been asked before Friday’s game if Cabrera, who sometimes has been quiet about injuries or refused to mention their effects, might be dealing with something undisclosed.
“Right now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Miggy,” Ausmus said.
“I feel like we’ve had this conversation every year. And every year he seems to end up hitting.”
Cabrera’s second-inning double was his 1,000th career extra-base hit. He is the 39th player in big-league history to have 1,000 such hits and one of only four active players with 1,000, joining Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, and Adrian Beltre.
The home run Tigers catcher John Hicks clubbed Friday had about it a pair of mysteries as it hurtled skyward in the third inning.
Would it ever come down? And would it stay fair?
It managed both. Hicks, who has been running the Toledo-Detroit shuttle for much of the spring, now has three home runs and is batting .318.
“I knew I got it good,” Hicks said of the 70-mph curveball he hit against White Sox starter Derek Holland. “It hooked and I really didn’t know if it would stay fair. But it went right over the pole.”
Hicks also worked Friday night with Michael Fulmer, trying to keep a big lead intact in a game the Tigers won, 15-5, all without hurrying or letting up.
“No one was complaining about a big lead,” Hicks said. “But we went with his heater most of the time. And we probably got a little too aggressive.
“It’s a give and take situation.”
Ausmus said two disabled Tigers, second baseman Ian Kinsler and catcher James McCann, were expected to be freed from the disabled list Tuesday and should rejoin the team for its home game against the Angels.