Sick day: Tigers pitching suffers long, tough afternoon in White Sox blowout
Detroit — They waved a checkered flag on Belle Isle, and a white flag on the mainland.
Tigers starter Jose Urena was flat-out ambushed, turning the day before a scheduled team bullpen day into a bullpen day of its own as the Chicago White Sox coasted, 15-2, on Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park before the largest crowd to attend a sporting event in the city of Detroit since March 10, 2020.
A crowd of 15,913 took in the action. The game was an hour old before the Tigers came to bat in the second inning, it was three hours old by last call in the seventh inning, and all told, it took 3 hours, 47 minutes.
When the game was only two minutes old, the Tigers already trailed, 1-0, on back-to-back doubles. The first six White Sox batters went double, RBI double, hit by pitch, reached on an error and two-run single, and somehow it seemed that it actually went downhill from there. The White Sox scored three times in the first, and after Detroit had answered with a two-run home run by Harold Castro, Chicago added five in the second.
White Sox leadoff hitter Tim Anderson batted three times before Tigers No. 9 hitter Willi Castro batted once.
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Urena (2-6) didn't make it out of the second inning, retiring just five of 15 batters.
"I just don't think he had anything. He was a little sluggish," Tigers manager AJ Hinch said of Urena, adding there was no concern that he was aggravating the forearm strain that landed him on the injured list this year.
"That's a bad sign against an offensive club like the White Sox."
Daniel Norris didn't make it into the fourth. Beau Burrows might have made 15,000 new BFFs when he set down the White Sox 1-2-3 in the fourth, but was tattooed early in the fifth, bounced back with a couple strikeouts, and then was stricken by apparent heat exhaustion, vomiting on the mound before leaving the game (after the game, he was optioned to Triple-A Toledo; the Tigers will call up another pitcher Sunday.)
The grounds crew cleaned up Burrows' mess, but there was no mop big enough for the rest as Detroit suffered its most lopsided loss of the season.
Alex Lange followed Burrows and promptly threw 13 consecutive balls at one point — a streak-snapping strike nearly earning him a standing ovation, and an inning-ending strikeout actually earning him a real one.
Hey, it's been a while for Tigers fans. They roared and chanted "M-V-P!" when a fan behind home plate made a dandy catch in the seventh inning. They got The Wave going again, a two-lapper even. An NSYNC singalong was pretty darn lively. Like during the COVID-19 lockdown, they found ways to entertain themselves.
On the 14th anniversary of Justin Verlander's first career no-hitter at Comerica Park, only two of the seven Tigers pitchers Saturday had a scoreless line — Jason Foley and, umm, Harold Castro, take a bow — and only Castro, yes you are reading that correctly, had a hitless one. Before Castro in the ninth, it was Jake Rogers (acquired in the Verlander trade, albeit to catch, not pitch) in the eighth.
Rogers begged Hinch for the ninth inning, too, saying, "Let me get my ERA down," but Hinch politely declined.
"Harry went out out there and threw three up, three down, and kind of showed me up there," Rogers, who last pitched in summer ball in high school, said with a not-so-shy smirk. "(Hinch) said, 'Don't ever question by managing again.'
"It's not the best that we're down 10 or whatever it was, we want to win. But at the same time, I was just wanting to go out there and have fun. I enjoyed it."
The White Sox finished with 13 hits and 11 walks, in taking their seventh of nine against the Tigers this season, with the series finale set for 1:10 p.m. Sunday.
Speaking of which, Sunday was already a scheduled bullpen day — in other words, no traditional starting pitcher — for the Tigers, who after burning through five actual pitchers Saturday afternoon almost certainly are going to be thin in arms when they visit the Kansas City Royals for a series that starts Monday.
White Sox starter Dylan Cease (5-2) improved to 8-0 all-time against the Tigers, 3-0 this season alone. After the Castro homer — his first of the year, a 373-foot shot to right — Cease retired 15 of his last 20 batters. He struck out email@example.com