Game One: Tigers 13, Rockies 0: Miggy’s high is Colorado’s low
This game was decided early, as the Tigers got off to a hot start and didn’t stop, while the Rockies seemed lost from the get-go as they dropped the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in resounding fashion.
Antonio Senzatela will forever be a part of baseball history following his outing on Saturday, but not in the way that he’d like. He had difficulties early and often, as his final line showed: five innings of work and five earned runs thanks to ten hits, including a three-run home run. Most of the damage came in the tumultuous first inning. Robbie Grossman started off the frame with a base hit, and was called out on an Austin Meadows fielder’s choice.
Miguel Cabrera then singled to right field, and Detroit fans didn’t have to wait long to see the legendary hitter reach the fabled 3000-hit plateau. A break in the action to acknowledge the accomplishment included a genuinely touching moment between “Miggy” and former teammate José Iglesias, as the two friends embraced on the field.
The inning continued, and it was back to work for Senzatela. With two on and one out, he struck out Jeimer Candelario to put himself in a position to escape the inning undamaged. Jonathan Schoop sent a ground ball up the middle that was snagged by Brendan Rodgers, who threw to first and was unable to record the out in time, allowing Detroit’s first run of the game to score. There may have been an opportunity to get the final out on a flip to Iglesias at shortstop instead, but it’s hard to say. Regardless, the inning stayed alive, and Senzatela’s very next pitch was a chest-high fastball that Spencer Torkelson hammered to right field for a three-run home run to put the Rockies into a four-run deficit early.
Senzatela would make it through five innings, but he struggled with base runners often and clearly didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday.
Rockies’ best chance squandered
There were, frankly, few opportunities for Colorado to realistically get back in the game, as Tigers starter Tarik Skubal kept their bats off-balance throughout his six innings of work. Their best and only real chance came in the sixth inning, when they were down just 5-0. Iglesias opened with a base hit, and after Yonathan Daza grounded into a force out, Connor Joe moved Daza to second base with a single of his own (while also extending his hit streak to nine games.)
Connor Joe extends hitting streak to 9 games pic.twitter.com/yl3oAcEcBO— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) April 23, 2022
A third hit, off the bat of Randal Grichuk (who went 2-for-3 and extended his own hit streak to eight games), loaded the bases with one out for Kris Bryant. A base hit here could score a couple and get the Rockies back in the game, but Skubal buckled down and struck out Bryant before getting C.J. Cron to pop out to end the threat.
Bullpen bucks the trend...in a bad way
The Rockies bullpen has arguably been their brightest spot to open the 2022 season, but you wouldn’t know it from this game. After Senzatela departed, Ty Blach entered in relief to open the sixth inning. He found the Detroit lineup unwelcoming, as they touched up the lefty for four runs on five hits and a walk. Blach was surely hoping to work multiple innings, but instead managed to record just two outs before himself being relieved by Lucas Gilbreath. “Gilly” fared little better, as his one total inning of work was marred by four additional earned runs, again off of five hits (plus two walks). The once-dominant bullpen was certainly not in its top form on Saturday afternoon, and the Tigers offense knocked around the Colorado pitching staff for 20(!!!) hits, 18 of them singles. Hey, at least Jhoulys Chacín’s 1 1⁄3 innings were clean?
A pretty rough game in every aspect for the Rockies, but rather than leave on a downer, here’s a really nice play from Ryan McMahon:
★ ★ ★
Game Two: Rockies 3, Tigers 2: A win is a win
The long ball
Connor Joe hit a big one off of Beau! After being shutout in game one, it sure was nice to see a lead off home run from CoJo. The Rockies took an early one-run lead. This was the Rockies’ first leadoff home run this season.
Charlie Blackmon sent the ball over the outfield fence in the third inning giving the Rockies a three-run lead. This was Chuck’s second home run of the year. We love a good Chuck bomb, especially a two-run explosion.
Austin Gomber shines
Austin Gomber was looking more like the “Blake Street Gomber” of 2021. He pitched six scoreless innings, only giving up four hits. In those six innings he fanned eight. This is the outing Gomber needed after two outings where he couldn’t even close out the fifth inning. Check out those strikeouts.
It was quiet until it wasn’t
After Charlie Blackmon’s home run in the third inning, it got quiet. Yes, there were hits for both clubs, but the score went unchanged until the bottom of the ninth inning. Robert Stephenson saw some traffic in the seventh inning after walking the first two batters, but ultimately found a way out of the inning unscathed.
Tyler Kinley pitched a clean eighth inning and saw Miggy for the last time today, who ended the day with 3002 career hits. This alone is an incredible milestone, but then add on the fact that he is still a productive hitter makes him fun to watch. We, the fans, get to see Miggy again tomorrow (if he’s in the lineup) to see how many more hits he can rack up.
Do the Rockies love ninth inning theatrics? I think they do. Alex Colomé gave up a two-run triple to Austin Meadows to make the score 3-2. Despite giving up those two runs, he was able close out the ninth inning for the Rockies. Phew.
I just have to remind myself, a win is a win and the Rockies still have a chance to take the series tomorrow.
Game three of this series, a rubber match, will take place tomorrow morning. Chad Kuhl (1-0, 0.87 ERA) will face off against Tyler Alexander (0-1, 4.26). Kuhl will look to continue his dominant pitching coming off of a great game against the Philadelphia Phillies last week.
First pitch is at 11:10am MDT. See you then!