Jonathan Schoop walked into the Comerica Park clubhouse on Monday morning amid a prolonged crisis.
He left Monday night feeling like one of the best hitters in baseball, after the best nine hours of his season.
After a perfect 4-on-4 game 1 of the doubleheader, Schoop picked up where he left off in game 2, going 2-on-4 with a run and an RBI, increasing his average from .191 to .207.
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That buoyed up the offense early before Riley Greene threw the free kick in the sixth inning and Eric Haase hit a solo shot in the seventh, powering the Detroit Tigers to a 5-3 win and a twinbill sweep.
“He had some really good shots,” Hinch said of Schoop. “Then I mention his defense because he made plays that helped us win on that side as well.
“It’s good to have guys contributing, when you get it from the top of the order and from the bottom of the order, we’re a different attack when they go, Jonathan included.”
Schoop started the scoring early, leading the third with a brace for his fifth hit in as many at bats that day. After advancing to third on a ground ball from Victor Reyes on the right side, Greene came to home plate.
The rookie hit a helicopter at second baseman Andres Gimenez, Schoop immediately went home and used a textbook hook around the outside of the plate to beat Sandy Leon’s tag.
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Faedo’s good start
With the way Alex Faedo was throwing early, that early lead was pretty good for the Tigers (32-47).
After three tough outings in a row for Faedo, the rookie making the 11th start of his career, went through three innings, needing just 40 pitches while scattering one hit and one walk.
Then, the fourth round arrived.
Faedo allowed an opening walk from Amed Rosario, followed by a Jose Ramirez single, a Franmil Reyes double, an Andres Gimenez fly sack and an Owen Miller single.
All of a sudden, a one-point lead became a two-point deficit. After prompting a pop-up to get two outs, the 26-year-old made back-to-back walks to Leon and Oscar Mercado, prompting a visit to the mound from manager AJ Hinch and assistant athletic trainer Matt Rankin.
Faedo threw a couple of practice throws, before being pulled with pain in his right hip, according to the team.
“I saw him start to make up for his delivery,” Hinch said. “You could tell that (his hip) had started to change its flow a bit, but when I came out I was glad it wasn’t related to the arm.
“He wanted to throw a few pitches…he didn’t want to tell me he had to come out but you could see it in his face and see him in his delivery so I took him out.”
Tyler Alexander arrived with the bases loaded and had Steven Kwan line up, avoiding any further damage.
The Tigers received a gift at the end of the fourth. Haase started the inning with a small league pop-up in front of the mound, as starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington and catcher Leon converged.
The two nearly collided before the ball bounced off Pilkington’s glove and rolled, allowing Haase to reach second base.
“It’s never easy when a receiver has to go out there, it sucks,” Haase said. “When the pitcher didn’t take charge, I was like, ‘Okay, let me get on my horse’ and next thing you know, clack and roll to the backstop.
“I’ve been in that position, I know how hard it is, so I was just going to get through it.”
After Spencer Torkelson failed on a 104.6mph shot, Harold Castro beat an infield single that was overturned after initially being called.
That brought Schoop, with runners on the corners, who singled — his sixth straight hit — to score Haase and cut the lead in half. Reyes followed with a defensive pick to drive Castro and tie the game, 3-3.
Torkelson led the sixth inning with a single, followed by a strikeout from Castro and a line from Schoop – which he hit 105.6 mph.
Reyes threw a 3-2 fastball to right field to advance Torkelson to third base, before Greene headed for the plate and hit another chopper. This time he sank just over the mound, leaving no chance for a play and a single shot down the field.
Greene has reached base in 14 of his 15 career MLB games.
Haase would provide the fireworks in the following image.
After two quick outs to start the seventh, Haase got a dangling curveball on the first pitch and threw it into left field, traveling 389 feet at 106.6 mph past the bullpen to put the Tigers lead by eventual final score.
“It’s not that I didn’t like (breaking balls before), it’s just that you never know what you’re going to get,” Haase said. “If you start looking for them in these counts you get saves (breaking balls) like I was able to get tonight, they’re still good pitches to hit, it doesn’t have to be a heater .
“The more I am able to string together these ABs looking for these pitches, it gets better and better to zone in on those pitches.”
The bullpen, which has been the Tigers’ bright spot this season, shined again.
Entering the fourth, Alexander emerged from a traffic jam loaded with bases. It set the tone for his day, pitching 3⅓ scoreless innings, while allowing only two singles and no walks.
“If we had a player of the game, we would give it to him because of efficiency, plus outs, plus zeros,” Hinch said. “Probably the biggest takeout he got was the first one he got with the bases loaded against Kwan.
“This game is completely different if they get a four or five place there.”
After the match, Alexander said he escaped with a “crappy” slider that Kwan hit hard, but was lucky it went straight to Greene.
Other than that, he was in control and able to induce low contact by missing barrels against a formation that puts more balls in play than any other team in the majors.
“It was my job to bridge the gap between the starter and the back of the bullpen,” Alexander said. “I did it today with, I guess, an extra set. I didn’t exactly expect to get the third, but I was efficient.”
Since returning from the disabled list in mid-June, Alexander has allowed just one earned run in 13⅓ innings on eight hits, six walks and seven strikeouts.
Alex Lange followed suit in the eighth inning when he hit the heart of the Guardians order.
He needed four pitches to hit Rosario on a curveball, seven pitches before running Ramirez through a 95mph lead and three pitches before setting Reyes on a curveball to hit the side in order.
After using Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto in Game 1, Hinch turned to Joe Jimenez to close out Game 2, which he did, putting the Guardians in order with a mixed strikeout for his first. end of the season.
“Joe Jimenez, it started on its own during the lockdown where he rearranged a few things and locked in on what he needed to do to be better than he was the previous two seasons, Hinch said.” He’s not going to want to talk about it, I’m not going to tell him what he’s doing, but he’s got an inside focus this season that’s better than last year.
“When we put him in any situation, he reacted very well, so I’m very proud of him.”
Contact Tony Garcia at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @realtonygarcia.
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