Tigers call up Akil Baddoo in aftermath of doubleheader sweep to Royals
Kansas City, Mo. — Rough day at the office.
On a long, hot and languid day at Kauffman Stadium Monday, the Tigers lost both ends of a split doubleheader to the Royals, the only team beneath them in the Central Division standings.
After managing just four hits and losing 3-1 in the first game, they dug too deep a hole and lost the nightcap 7-3.
Immediately after the Game 2 loss, manager AJ Hinch announced that outfielder Akil Baddoo was being called up and Kody Clemens was optioned back to Triple-A Toledo.
"Akil is playing great and we need guys who are playing good right now," Hinch said.
In his last 13 games, Baddoo is hitting .438 with a .526 on-base percentage and slugging .750 with six doubles and three home runs.
Hinch said he wasn't sure Baddoo would be in the lineup against Royals lefty Kris Bubic Tuesday, but he would play the last six games before the All-Star break.
A week after sweeping a doubleheader from the Guardians and going on a six-game win streak, the Tigers have lost three straight and five of the last six to the Royals.
"It's frustrating, especially when we feel like we beat ourselves," catcher Eric Haase said. "From the get-go we had trouble finding the strike zone. That's never good. We found a way to escape out of that and thought we had a chance. But we couldn't keep the pressure off of us. There was traffic on the bases all night.
"When you feel like you're beating yourself it's tough to swallow."
Rookie Alex Faedo, called up from Triple-A Toledo to make his second straight start as the 27th man, did not survive two innings. He very nearly didn’t survive the first.
As Hinch said, the strike zone eluded him. He walked three batters and gave up a double to Bobby Witt, Jr., in a 37-pitch, 17-strike first inning.
"We were in trouble from the very first batter in the bottom of the first inning," Hinch said. "Just no execution. He couldn't throw strikes. Every at-bat was a battle. He got some right-handed hitters out but he had trouble throwing strikes to lefties."
Lefty Tyler Alexander was warm and ready when Faedo got Emmanuel Rivera to line out to right with the bases loaded to end the inning. Amazingly, only one run crossed the plate.
Things got worse for Faedo in the second. He threw more strikes, but the Royals pounded out three straight singles before he walked another. Faedo left with the bases loaded and two outs. He was at 60 pitches and had faced only 13 hitters.
"His stuff looked sharp he just looked like he couldn't harness everything in the zone," Haase said. "He made some pitches when he had to, but in the second inning it was the same thing."
Faedo, as was the plan, was optioned back to Toledo after the game. Hinch said he expects Faedo to start a game for the Mud Hens before the break.
"Hopefully he can knock some of the rust off and get back to how he was before," Haase said. "The stuff is there."
Alexander, who ate 3.1 innings and allowed just one run, gave up RBI singles to the first two batters he faced, both runs charged to Faedo and the Tigers were in a fast 4-1 hole.
It was 5-1 before the Tigers started chipping away. They’d scored the first run four pitches into the game. Robbie Grossman reached on an error and scored on a double to center by Javier Baez.
Willi Castro, who got the start in center field, doubled and scored in the fourth inning. Then in the fifth, Miguel Cabrera shot a double inside the bag at third base, scoring Baez from first.
With that one swing Cabrera moved into a tie for 15th all-time in two categories – doubles (605, tying Paul Molitor) and RBI (1,836, tying Ken Griffey, Jr.).
Haase followed with a single and with one out the Tigers had runners at the corners against Royals reliever Jose Cuas. Jonathan Schoop, though, banged into an inning-ending double-play.
They rallied again in the seventh against lefty reliever Angel Zerpa. Grossman, who had three hits, singled and went to second on a wild pitch. After Baez grounded out, Cabrera hit a 400-foot drive to the track in center field, tracked and caught by Kyle Isbel.
In the eighth, Haase and Schoop started the inning with singles and were stranded.
"They had opportunities, we had opportunities — they did more with theirs," Hinch said.
The Tigers were 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Frustrating. Spencer Torkelson hit three bullets his first three times up, 1,077 feet in combined flight — all three were caught.
"It's just baseball," Alexander said. "We showed up, we tried hard and we didn't win. It's part of it."
Things came unglued for the Tigers in the bottom of the eighth. A walk, a ball that eluded third baseball Jeimer Candelario was scored a hit, a bloop RBI single by Witt (who had four hits) and a wild pitch and the Royals had a pair of add-on runs.
Tough night at the office.