The All-Star break failed to change the Detroit Tigers’ fortunes.
The Tigers won their first game after the pause but have since dropped three straight by a combined score of 22-5. They enter a three-game home series against the San Diego Padres beginning Monday night with seven losses in their last eight games.
The Tigers’ starting staff has been riddled with injuries, and their two most recent starters, Michael Pineda and Rony Garcia, departed early with arm issues.
“We’re in a tough spot,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’re not in a good place as a team in general, but our pitching and where the roster is, we’re in a really tough spot.”
It’s come to a point where just getting out of any game without a new injury is a victory.
“The injuries are more frustrating than the losses,” catcher Eric Haase said. “It’s like, if you are going out and getting your butts kicked every night, that’s one thing. But these games are going how they are because guys are coming out of games with injuries and you’re fighting back. That’s more tough. You don’t want to see anyone out there getting hurt. It’s just a really tough spot. We can’t figure out where the injury bug is coming from.”
Shortstop Javier Baez also left Detroit’s last game, a 9-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, early due to a contusion in his left upper arm.
Hinch was forced to use six members of his staff before using infielder Kody Clemens, son of former major-leaguer Roger Clemens, for an inning. Clemens gave up one run.
Detroit’s punchless offense produced only three hits and one walk. Haase had two of the hits along with the lone RBI.
“We’re beat up as a team physically and we’re not winning games. Put that combo together and it’s pretty miserable,” Hinch said.
The Padres were defeated by the New York Mets 8-5 on Sunday night. They defeated the Mets in their first two games after the All-Star break.
Third baseman Manny Machado, who had three hits Sunday, is playing through an ankle injury.
“I don’t think it’s 100 percent, but I don’t think it will be,” he said. “Every single night you go out there, and whatever your 100 percent is that night, just try to give it your all.”
Left-hander Sean Manaea (5-4, 4.11 ERA) will start Monday’s game for the Padres. Manaea has won his last two starts — he held Colorado to two runs in 6 1/3 innings on July 11, then gave up three runs in six innings against Arizona on July 16.
In his last outing, Manaea persevered after giving up a two-run homer to Carson Kelly in the fifth inning.
“It’s very easy in those moments to let things snowball,” Manaea said. “Had to learn the hard way over the course of my career about that. Just got to keep moving on and get to the next pitch.”
Manaea is 3-1 lifetime against the Tigers, with a 2.88 ERA in four appearances (all starts).
Detroit will counter on Monday with right-hander Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.46). In his last outing, Hutchison gave up four runs in five innings at Cleveland on July 15. He has not faced the Padres.
The two teams last met in 2017, with the Padres winning two of three games. It’s been a much longer time since San Diego visited Detroit’s Comerica Park. The last series there was 2005, when the Tigers swept the Padres in three games.
–Field Level Media