Tigers' woeful defense, pitching enable White Sox to jam bases

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — By time alone, that was a short series between the Tigers and White Sox.

But for those on the field, especially those in the Tigers uniforms, the four games in less than 48 hours seemed a whole heck of a lot longer.

Detroit Tigers shortstop Jordy Mercer looks at the ball on his knees after a Chicago White Sox's Ryan Goins fly ball as JaCoby Jones (21) and Niko Goodrum (28) run to help in the fourth inning.

That's because the White Sox had at least one runner on base in each of the series' 36 innings. Seriously. Not a single clean inning for Tigers pitchers over the span of four games.

Asked how tough that was on the Tigers' pitchers, manager Ron Gardenhire didn't really mince words.

"Well, most of it's their fault," Gardenhire said after Wednesday's 8-1 loss. "They're the ones throwing the ball."

Gardenhire did say, however, the Tigers "didn't play great defense in this series."

"Consistently, we've gotta get better defensively behind them," he said.

The Tigers did make four errors in the series.

Meanwhile, their pitchers allowed 56 hits and 14 walks to the White Sox.

That's a whole lot of traffic, and you'd have to forgive the defense if the mind wandered just a bit.

"You just try to stay with it, try to stay positive and keep rolling," Tigers catcher Jake Rogers said. "You've gotta stay positive out there."

On the move

The Tigers, with a depleted pitching staff, made two moves following Wednesday's game.

They optioned right-hander Eduardo Jimenez to Triple-A Toledo after he pitched 2⅔ innings, striking out three.

More surprising, the Tigers DFA'd Trevor Rosenthal, the former All-Star closer who can still hit 100 mph. That's about all he can do. He walked two more Wednesday, and walked 11 in nine innings for the Tigers.

"We need inning-eaters," Gardenhire said. "We can't keep going one inning here, one inning there right now. I think you guys see that. We're stretching people out as much as we possibly can.

"He's gotten better and better. His arm's there. We think he's on the right path coming back from Tommy John surgery, and eventually he'll get there. It's a power arm that can really throw the ball.

"But we need multiple-inning guys."

Corresponding moves will be announced before Thursday's series opener against the Royals.

One name to watch: right-hander David McKay, recently claimed off waivers from the Mariners. He was ranked the 28th-best prospect in Seattle's organization.

Former Tigers revs up

White Sox catcher James McCann was an All-Star this season, and deservedly so.

He didn't look like much of an All-Star after the All-Star Game, however. McCann entered this series in Detroit hitting just .147 since returning from the All-Star break.

Of course, it just took some at-bats against his old Tigers teammates to get him going.

McCann played three games in the series and racked up seven hits, including three Wednesday — to go with three RBIs.

"It's a funny game," McCann said. "When you start going through a tough stretch, you start trying to do more, trying to do too much. The last few games, it's just been a mindset of relaxing and letting it come to me instead of trying to go get it."

The Tigers decided last offseason to nontender McCann, who signed a one-year, $2.5-million contract with the White Sox.

Negro Leagues tribute

During the upcoming four-game series with the Royals, the Tigers will hold their annual Negro Leagues Weekend — including with the tribute game Saturday, honoring the Detroit Stars and Kansas City Monarchs.

Several special events are planned, among them:

► On Saturday, eight Negro League representatives will participate in a pregame ceremony, including Minnie Forbes, the owner of the Detroit Stars from 1956-58 and the Negro Leagues last surviving owner, and Ron Teasley, a Wayne State alum who played for the New York Cubans in 1948.

►On Sunday, the Tigers will present Craig Monroe with the 2019 Willie Horton African American Legacy Award.

Tickets for all four games are available at tigers.com.

Around the horn

Rogers avoided disaster in the fourth inning on a foul popup near the White Sox first-base dugout. "I didn't know I was gonna run over the batter's circle," he said. "I think I stepped on a bat and kicked a bat donut. Yeah, I just tried to keep my concentration. Luckily, the bat didn't roll out from underneath."

... Tigers shortstop Jordy Mercer had two hits Wednesday, giving him four consecutive multi-hit games and six in his last 10 games.

On deck: Royals

Series: Four games, Thursday-Sunday, Comerica Park, Detroit

First pitch: Thursday-Friday, 7:10; Saturday, 6:10; Sunday, 1:10

TV/radio: All games on FSD/97.1

Probables: Thursday — TBA vs. LHP Matt Boyd (6-8, 3.91); Friday — RHP Brad Keller (7-11, 3.95) vs. TBA; Saturday — LHP Mike Montgomery (1-5, 6.02) vs. RHP Spencer Turnbull (3-9, 3.72); Sunday — RHP Jakob Junis (7-10, 4.88) vs. LHP Daniel Norris (3-9, 4.76)

Scouting report

► Boyd, Tigers: After a rough stretch from mid-June to mid-July, Boyd has gotten it together the last three starts, allowing two earned runs, then one, then two. No matter, the sad-sack Tigers have lost 10 of his last 11 starts.