'It went awry': Tigers take historic beating from Brewers, 19-0
Detroit — On a dreary day at Comerica Park, the Tigers played an ever bleaker game of baseball.
Playoff chase, and talk of that? The Tigers were only a game from the wild-card chase heading into Wednesday afternoon.
Sure, the standings say it’s possible, but Wednesday’s 19-0 loss to Milwaukee, if you watched it, certainly can curb that discussion a bit.
This was a dismantling in every possible way en route to the Tigers worst shutout defeat in team history. To save the bullpen with a doubleheader looming Thursday in St. Louis, the Tigers pitched outfielder Travis Demeritte in the ninth inning — and he gave up four runs, including two home runs.
It was just that kind of day.
"A lot of bad things happened and it went awry pretty quick," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But it's only one game, and we move on."
The Tigers only managed two hits, both from Willi Castro, as Brewers starter Corbin Burnes was in complete control, allowing one of those two hits over seven innings, with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
Milwaukee exploded for 21 hits on the afternoon, including five home runs, and weren’t fooled by Tigers’ starter Matt Boyd at all to begin this slaughter. Or many of the relievers who followed.
Boyd went only three innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs, with four walks and two strikeouts and gave up two home runs.
Of the 17 Brewers batters Boyd faced, 12 reached base safely, as Boyd lost for the sixth time in seven decisions (1-6).
"It was pretty obvious (early on) that he was, I don't know if he was misfiring or not, but it wasn't his day," Gardenhire said. "One of those bad days that led to more bad."
Boyd never found any sort of rhythm, and the Brewers feasted.
"Just overthinking it really, and that leads into tempo and being able to get into a rhythm," Boyd said. "I couldn't command the baseball. That happens, and I just have to bounce back and learn from it.
"Everything felt fine. (But) I made it tough for the guys behind me and (catcher) Grayson (Greiner) and handcuffed him a lot by not commanding things.
"It's just one of those days. It's not a setback by any means. You go forward."
Burnes didn’t allow a hit through 4⅓ innings, before Willi Castro tripled to the wall in right-center field.
But Burnes gathered himself and struck out Jorge Bonifacio and Daz Cameron to end the inning.
Cameron went hitless in three at bats in his major-league debut — a grounder to second, striking out, and hitting into a double play.
The Tigers now head on a five-game road trip, playing a doubleheader Thursday in St. Louis followed by a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox.
And that's mainly why Gardenhire used Demeritte in the ninth inning, after having used four other relievers after lifting Boyd.
Demeritte allowed home runs to Jedd Gyorko and Tyrone Taylor, but escaped unharmed otherwise in his first major league pitching opportunity..
"We weren't going to use another pitcher," said Gardenhire, who was forced to make personnel moves after the game to bolster the pitching staff, recalling Jordan Zimmermann and Nick Ramirez while sending down John Schreiber and Kyle Funkhouser. "It was going to be somebody. Demeritte was in the game for (Miguel) Cabrera and he was going to be the guy to pitch. It was pretty simple. Don't get killed and just throw the ball over and don't do anything fancy, and try to get out of here."
The Tigers made several roster moves after Wednesday's game.
They optioned Funkhouser and Schreiber to the taxi squad in Toledo and reinstated Zimmermann from the 45-day injured list.
The Tigers also selected Ramirez, a left-handed reliever, from the alternate training site in Toledo.
To make room for Ramirez and Zimmermann on the 40-man roster, starting pitcher Iván Nova (right triceps) and outfielder JaCoby Jones (hand) have been transferred to the 45-day injured list.
Zimmermann (right forearm strain) has yet to pitch this season, but will start the second game of Thursday's doubleheader in St. Louis.
Gardenhire said Zimmermann has been stretched to approximately 50-to-60 pitches while training in Toledo.
"He's anxious to get here and go with us," Gardenhire said. "He's very excited. With everything he's been through this year, he's feeling good."
On deck: St. Louis Cardinals
► Series: Two-game series at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Mo.
► First pitch: Thursday — first game, 2:15 p.m.; second game to follow. Both are seven innings.
► TV/radio: Both games on Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
► Probables: Game 1 — LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 4.70) vs. RHP Jack Flaherty (2-1, 2.95); Game 2 — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 0.00). vs. vs. LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 0.64).
► Skubal, Tigers: Making his fifth career start, Skubal is coming off his best outing, going six innings against Minnesota while only allowing one run on two hits. Skubal has allowed two runs or fewer and allowed three or fewer hits in each of his last three starts.
► Flaherty, Cardinals: Flaherty has been effective, striking out 21 hitters in 21.1 innings, with an 0.98 WHIP. The Cubs defeated Flaherty in his last appearance, as he allowed four hits and three runs in 2.2 innings.
► Zimmermann, Tigers: The veteran has missed the entire season because of a forearm injury, but has worked hard to get back into the rotation. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Zimmermann has been stretched to as much as 60 pitches.
► Gomber, Cardinals: Primarily a relief pitcher, this will be only Gomber’s second start this season. He struck out five Cubs in only 2.2 innings his last outing.