Boyd's focus shapes second straight win since recall

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
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Matthew Boyd of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning.

Minneapolis — It’s not technically a zen-like approach that Matthew Boyd has brought back with him from his eight-start stint at Triple-A Toledo. But it’s in that vicinity.

“It’s just about executing each pitch,” he said. “You trust in your preparation and you execute your pitches. That’s boiling it down. If you don’t trust it, and you let all that other stuff come in, that’s a lot to comprehend on the mound.”

Boyd worked his way to his second straight win, second straight quality start Sunday, going six innings and allowing three runs to the Twins. And his new mantra served him well. He didn’t have his best command. He fell behind nine of the first 13 hitters. He walked three, two in a two-run third inning.

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But he never appeared ruffled or rattled. 

“The pitch before, the batter before, the inning before, it shouldn’t have any bearing on you,” Boyd said. “You have to live in the moment and execute the pitch at hand. That’s been my main focus and it was again today.”

Even the fact that he struck out All-Star Miguel Sano three times didn’t affect him one way or another.

“Just execute pitches,” he said. “Sometimes you can get caught up in the inning or in who you are facing.”

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He wound up with a career-high eight strikeouts and just one big mistake — an elevated two-seam fastball that Eduardo Escobar launched 442 feet into the third deck in left field.

“You walk a guy, you never want to walk a guy, but you still have to execute the next pitch and get back to it,” he said. “You execute the pitch, dominate the pitch, then do it again. Pour all your talent and focus and preparation into the next pitch and then do it again and again and again.”

He did that for 105 pitches. He did it even after he took a hard hit ball off his funny bone in the fifth inning. It stung him good, too. It took several warm-up throws to shake it off.

“That what I get for throwing a fastball down the middle,” he said. “The lesson is, get ahead and don’t throw fastballs down the middle.”

He proceeded to induced an inning double play from Brian Dozier and then breeze through a seven pitch sixth inning.

Norris re-injures groin

Left-hander Daniel Norris left his start in Toledo Sunday, apparently re-injuring the groin that had put him on the disabled list.

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General manager Al Avila said the plan was for Norris to return to Detroit Monday and undergo treatment with the Tigers’ medical staff.

After the game, the Tigers sent outfielder Jim Adduci back to Toledo and recalled right-hander Drew VerHagen. It’s unclear why the Tigers decided to go with an extra arm in the bullpen. There could be another move coming Monday.

VerHagen was in the starting rotation in Toledo, 7-7 with a 4.90 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. He’s pitched parts of three season for the Tigers.
Around the horn 

Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-23 on the seven-game road trip, striking out three times Sunday.

“Not that I’m aware of,” manager Brad Ausmus said when asked if Cabrera was fighting any injury. “He hasn’t said anything to me. I asked him today if he was OK to play and he said yes. I don’t think he’s hurt, but it wouldn’t shock me if Miggy kept it to himself. He has that type of warrior mentality.”

… Ausmus said before the game he didn’t think any more trades were inevitable. “I thought trading J.D. Martinez was probably inevitable,” he said. “I am not sure anything else is. Justin Wilson still has another year of (team) control. I think Al (Avila) is going to have to get what he wants. He’s not just going to trade him for the sake of trading him. He doesn’t have to.”

… Alex Presley had six hits in the last two days and now has a 10-game hitting streak. He is hitting .459 during the streak (17-for-37). His career-long hitting streak is 12 games.
Twitter @cmccosky

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