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A back-to-form start for Matthew Boyd could spur July trade talk

By Lynn Henning
Detroit News

Toronto – No signs, yet, that Matthew Boyd will draw a shopper or two ahead of the July 31 deadline for making non-waiver deals.

But any visiting scout, or any front-office monitors, would have been impressed with Saturday’s work, which resembled so many earlier Boyd starts in 2018.

He stitched together six innings, allowed only four hits, and was responsible for three runs in what turned into a 4-3 Toronto toppling of the Tigers at Rogers Centre.

He struck out seven and walked twp. His fastball was generally in the 91-mph realm, and, of course, he mixed in his other three choices: slider, curve, and change-up, which meant Jays hitters could prepare for anything from 91 to 71 mph.

Not easily done.

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Boyd’s problem? Three of those four hits he yielded came in the fifth. And one of them was a two-run homer from Randal Grichuk, which, as Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed, was the way it goes for a Tigers team that hasn’t won since June 17.

“Things get a little out of whack,” he said, “and there you have it.”

Boyd was asked afterward if Saturday’s loss, which might have been the most cruel of any tumble the past two weeks, was particularly hard to digest.

“It may seem dire, but it’s not,” he said of how he, and his mates, were handling a brutal stretch. “We’re gonna come out on the other end of one of these games.”

Boyd was coming off back-to-back sour starts but was in form Saturday. His ERA is at 4.18 for the season. His WHIP is at 1.21. Opposing batters are hitting no better than .223 against him.

It was known ahead of his previous two starts, which were more like malfunctions, that the Mariners might be looking hard at a Pacific Northwest native as they hunt help for their rotation.

But there is a surplus of sellers and help in July’s shopping aisles. There is no sign the Mariners, or any other playoff-chasing club, is kicking the tires on Boyd.

And there was no sense Saturday Boyd’s looking for a ticket out of town.

“I know what happened,” he said of his team’s latest stumble. “We played good today. There are things we can do better. But we’re not playing bad.

“Things happen.”

Around the horn

■  Alex Wilson left Saturday’s game with left-calf tightness that Gardenhire said was due to a hole in the mound that seemed to strain Wilson's left leg. Wilson’s issue was not considered serious.

■  Nick Castellanos and Jeimer Candelario now lead the Tigers with 12 homers after Castellanos’ two-run blast Saturday. Castellanos has 100 hits on the season. He has an extra-base hit in six of his last seven games.

■ Leonys Martin’s gun-down of Devon Travis at home plate was his ninth outfield assist of 2018. He’s tied with Seattle’s Mitch Haniger for the league lead. Since the 2013 season, Martin has 59 assists, as many as the big league’s co-leader, Gerardo Parra of the Rockies.