The pitching match-up for today’s game was something of a “Best of the Farm Teams” pairing, with Jacob Faria squaring off against Buck Farmer. Both pitchers haven’t started a ton of games, this was Faria’s third outing and Farmer’s fourth. Faria, having collected wins on his first two games was hoping to maintain his momentum.
Faria quickly outlasted Farmer, as three individual home runs over three innings scored seven runs for the Rays, and Farmer was pulled. Tigers’ relief pitcher Chad Bell came on and held the Rays scoreless until the seventh inning when he gave up back-to-back home runs to Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison, bumping the score up to 9-1. The Rays were definitely doing their part to raise money for prostate cancer research with all these bombs.
Faria was relieved after seven superb innings by Chase Whitley in the eighth, and Tommy Hunter in the ninth, both of whom kept the score to only a single Tigers run.
Logan Morrison nailed a 2-run homer off of Tigers’ pitcher Buck Farmer in the first inning. The dinger bounced off the outfield gate leaving Morrison at second base briefly looking like he wasn’t sure what to do next. The 2-run shot was Morrison’s 20th of the season so far. His previous best year was 2011 when he knocked in 23 total, so it’s safe to say he’s well on track to top that. Morrison is now tied with Eric Thames for home runs this season and trails only this guy no one has heard of named Aaron Judge.
Morrison wasn’t satisfied with just one home run, so he went ahead and smashed in another solo shot in the seventh inning, because sure, why not pile it on?
STEVEN. SOUZA. JR. Way to take advantage of a pitcher showing shaky command and a bases loaded situation! Souza hammered in his 13th home run of the season and did in in style with a grand slam in the third inning, effectively ending Buck Farmer’s day. This was Souza’s first career grand slam.
Jacob Faria was tremendous with eight strikeouts and only one walk. He held the Tigers to a single run—the Justin Upton single that scored Alex Avila—in the first inning. His pitches weren’t at top speed, many of the fastballs in the low-90s, but the Tigers could not seem to find an answer for him. At the end of the day he threw 110 pitches, struck out nine, walked one, and allowed only one teeny tiny run on six hits.
Mallex Smith continues to struggle defensively, but is more than making up for it at bat. It’s tough, of course, when you’re standing in for a guy like Kevin Kiermaier, but Smith needs to stop missing catches in center, before he becomes a defensive liability.
Pretty hard to call anyone else out considering the Rays walloped the Tigers 9-1. Of the starting lineup only Colby Rasmus, Tim Beckham, and Daniel Robertson did not collect hits in the game.
With his win today Faria has won all three of his major league starts. Faria’s family was also at the park today to celebrate Father’s Day, so he made his family proud. His father gave up some insight on a rubber duck that Faria travels with that he’s kept in his equipment bag since high school. Baseball superstitions are great.
It’s worth noting as well that by drawing a series split today this is the first time the Tigers have not won a home series against the Rays since July of 2014.
Steven Souza Jr. has now gotten a home run in both the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day games this year. Guess he really likes impressing his parents.
I gave Mallex Smith flack for his defense, but offensively he extended his hitting streak to ten games today. While he might not equal Kiermaier in the field, he has been absolutely astonishing in the lead-off hitter role. Also, let’s please all collectively relive this moment, shall we?