Botched throw leaves Hicks shaking head, Tigers ruing another loss
Detroit — He seemed to be as stunned, as lost for explanations, as were fans and probably teammates who couldn't figure out how John Hicks butchered a throw from Niko Goodrum in the fourth inning of Tuesday's game at Comerica Park.
That the Tigers lost the game, 9-7, after leading 6-0 early, was an autopsy that included Hicks' error as part of multiple mortal wounds.
It happened with a man on first and two out. Tigers starter Blaine Hardy got a ground ball from Stephen Piscotty, who was about to be tossed out routinely by Goodrum. But the ball conked Hicks on the left arm and bounced away.
Error. And not just any old glitch. The A's followed with a pair of doubles and three runs.
"He threw it from an angle," Hicks said, "and it looked like it might bounce. I stayed down to pick it, and it kind of handcuffed me."
Hicks, a longtime catcher who has moved to first base as Miguel Cabrera's replacement, has been playing deftly, for the most part, at first. He made a superb diving stop in the eighth on Jonathan Lucroy's bullet of a grounder and threw out Lucroy on a throw to Alex Wilson.
He also had a pair of hits Tuesday. But it was the early gaffe Hicks knew would be remembered. All because it was the bungle that helped halve a big Tigers lead.
"It's a play I make 99 out of 100 times," Hicks said. "It (the throw) simply carried more than I thought, and it handcuffed me."
Nick Castellanos is at it again — raking.
He had his third consecutive game with multiple hits as he ripped a double and a single. He added two walks, one of which was intentional. In the last three games, Castellanos has gone 6-for-12, with two doubles, a home run, and four RBIs.
Castellanos has 30 multi-hit games in 2018.
Jeimer Candelario was caught in an 0-for-14 slide when he got rebooted Tuesday. He had a double and a single.
While the Tigers bullpen has had its spills of late, here and there the work has been sterling.
Taking a bow Tuesday were Buck Farmer and Alex Wilson.
Farmer threw two innings, didn't allow a hit, and struck out two, thanks mostly to a boring fastball that was radar-confirmed as high as 95.6 mph.
Wilson pitched 1⅔ innings, didn't allow a hit or a walk, and had a strikeout. His ERA, after some spring slip-ups sent it soaring, now sits at 3.64.