The Detroit Tigers were hit with a harsh reality check in Kansas City. They were swept by the Royals in a series that exposed their vulnerabilities. What started on Wednesday as a promising duel between two of the league’s top left-handers quickly turned grim, as the Tigers’ bullpen faltered, and their offense sputtered. With each loss, Detroit’s hopes of climbing the AL Central standings took a hit. They’re now three games below .500 and searching for answers as they return home to Comerica Park.

First Inning: Pitchers Dominate Early

If you were looking forward to a pitching duel featuring two of MLB’s top lefties, you certainly got a taste of one early. Tigers’ left-handed pitcher Tarik Skubal and Royals’ left-handed pitcher Cole Ragans did not disappoint, making quick work of the opposing lineup early. Both went 1-2-3 in the first inning, Ragans striking out two Tigers in the top of the first, while Skubal added a strikeout of his own in his 11-pitch, 9-strike first inning effort.

Second Inning: Royals Strike First

Royals starting pitcher Cole Ragans stayed sharp in the top of the second inning, inducing a flyout from leadoff cleanup hitter Riley Greene, before back-to-back strikeouts of third baseman Gio Urshela and first baseman Spencer Torkelson.

Skubal ran into his first bit of trouble in the bottom of the second inning. He made quick work of future Hall of Fame catcher Salvador Perez, who was the designated hitter this day, striking him out on four pitches. The next batter, left-fielder Nelson Velazquez, drew a four-pitch walk. Concerns began to swirl about a blister forming on Skubal’s middle finger, but he stayed in the game. Skubal allowed a double to Royals catcher Freddy Fermin, scoring Velazquez and giving the Royals a 1-0 lead. The very next hitter, right fielder Dairon Blanco, went down swinging on a nasty changeup. Unfortunately for Skubal and the Tigers, the next hitter, second baseman Garrett Hampson, drove in the Royals’ second run with a double.

Third Inning: Skubal Struggles with Efficiency

Ragans cruised through the third inning, surrendering one walk to catcher Jake Rogers, but striking out the other three Tigers hitters he faced. Skubal found himself in trouble once again but managed to sneak out of the inning without giving up a run. He threw 20 pitches, bringing his game total to 62 through 3 innings. Skubal managed to end the inning with his second strikeout of Salvador Perez.

Fourth Inning: Royals Extend Lead

The Tigers finally managed to put some stress on Ragans, with two runners on base and less than two outs. After a five-pitch walk to lead off the inning by Matt Vierling, Riley Greene reached first safely on a failed fielder’s choice attempt. Unfortunately, Gio Urshela and Spencer Torkelson were unable to drive in the base runners.

Tarik Skubal was tagged with a leadoff home run from left fielder Nelson Velazquez, extending the Royals’ lead to 3-0. Skubal limited the damage by striking out two of the next three hitters.

Fifth Inning: Royals Increase Lead

Ragans went 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth inning, getting the bottom three hitters in the order out with ease. Skubal was tagged again for one more run when Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino singled to right field, scoring third baseman Maikel Garcia. Skubal ended the inning with a double play but left the game with the Royals leading 4-0.

Sixth Inning: Tigers Break No-Hit Bid

With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Tigers’ left-fielder Riley Greene ended Cole Ragans’ bid for a no-hitter with a single to left field. Ragans quickly struck out Gio Urshela to end the top of the sixth. Ragans finished the game with a dominant line.

Tigers’ relief pitcher Will Vest entered the game for starter Tarik Skubal in the bottom of the sixth inning. Vest needed 18 pitches to strike out all three hitters in order.

Seventh Inning: Tigers Show Life

With two outs in the seventh inning, the Detroit Tigers rallied and showed some life. Andy Ibáñez made Royals’ relief pitcher Will Smith pay with a double to left-center, driving in Colt Keith and Jake Rogers to shrink the Royals’ lead to 4-2. A.J. Hinch matched a Royals pitching change by pinch-hitting left-handed hitter Kerry Carpenter against the new righty on the mound, John Schreiber. Carpenter drew a walk, but Mark Canha flew out to right field to end the inning, stranding two runners.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, relief pitcher Alex Lange replaced Will Vest. Lange walked pinch hitter Adam Frazier on five pitches. The Royals capitalized on the walk with a two-run double by Bobby Witt Jr., followed by a two-run single by Freddy Fermin, extending their lead to 8-2.

Eighth Inning: Tigers Threaten, but Fall Short

The Tigers managed to scrape across one more run in the eighth, shrinking the Royals’ lead to 8-3. After a Riley Greene groundout, Gio Urshela walked, followed by a single from Colt Keith. Javier Báez singled to right field, scoring Urshela, but Jake Rogers popped out to end the inning. Lefty Andrew Chafin replaced Alex Lange on the mound and needed only four pitches to retire the Royals hitters in order.

Ninth Inning: Royals Close It Out

Righty James McArthur entered the game for the Royals, looking to shut the game down. It took him 16 pitches to do just that. The Royals won on Wednesday, 8-3, pushing their record to 32-19, two games back of the Cleveland Guardians, who are in first place in the AL Central.

A Series to Forget

After taking 2-of-3 against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, the Tigers blew a big opportunity to regain ground in the AL Central. Unfortunately, the nightmare series started early on Monday and ended with a sweep by the Royals, pushing the season record to three games below .500.

Game 1 saw the Tigers lose 8-3, unable to generate momentum after falling behind 8-0. The Royals did the most damage in the sixth inning, scoring six runs highlighted by a home run from Salvador Perez off of Joey Wentz. Colt Keith and Kerry Carpenter were the lone bright spots for the Tigers.

Game 2 was never close after the Royals jumped all over Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize. The Royals had nine hits in the first 1.2 innings, scraping across six runs on Mize. The Tigers bullpen also struggled, resulting in a 10-3 loss.

After the Game 3 loss, the Tigers’ record dipped to 23-26. They head back to Comerica Park hoping to bounce back in a major way.

Coming Up Next for the Tigers

The Tigers look to rebound as they head back to Detroit for six games in seven days. Detroit welcomes the Blue Jays for a four-game series starting on Thursday. Then the Pirates will head to Detroit for a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday. One thing to note is the potential matchup against Pirates’ sensational rookie pitcher, Paul Skenes.

Probable Pitching Matchups Against the Blue Jays (subject to change):

  • Thursday, May 23 at 6:40 pm ET – RHP Jack Flaherty vs. RHP Kevin Gausman
  • Friday, May 24 at 6:40 pm ET – RHP Matt Manning vs. RHP Alex Manoah
  • Saturday, May 25 at 1:10 pm ET – RHP Reese Olson vs. RHP Jose Berrios
  • Sunday, May 26 at 11:35 am ET – RHP Casey Mize vs. LHP Yusei Kikuchi


For more from our Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Denny Medley – USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: May 22nd, 2024Categories: Detroit Tigers, MLB, Trending News

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