They jumped all over one of this year’s top starting pitchers en route to a 14-0 victory over the Texas Rangers. The pitching staff was excellent, the offense was explosive and everything seemed to go the Tigers’ way.
Detroit finished with 19 hits in its biggest blowout win of 2021. Every single starter got on base multiple times in what ended up being a stat-stuffing evening in Downtown Detroit.
Here are my 14 favorite stats following the blowout win.
13: Tigers runs vs. Kyle Gibson
Gibson has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since giving up five runs in his first start of the season.
In his next 15 outings between April 7 and July 2, Gibson allowed just 16 earned runs in 95.1 innings -- good for a 1.51 ERA and 0.965 WHIP.
His last two starts both came against the Tigers, one on each side of the All-Star break. In those games, he’s allowed 13 earned runs in 11.1 innings -- a 10.32 ERA and 1.982 WHIP.
His record against the rest of baseball is 6-0. His record against the Tigers is 0-2.
1: Base runners vs. Mize
Casey Mize’s outing couldn’t have been more different than Gibson’s. Even though he was expected to be pulled after three innings to manage his season-long workload, Mize was so efficient that he earned a fourth inning.
The Rangers failed to score against Mize, but most impressively, he only allowed one base runner. Mize retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced, with two strikeouts. It was another clean outing for Detroit’s budding ace.
0-for-2: Joey Gallo vs. Mize
A.J. Hinch said after the game that Mize was eager for another chance against Gallo after serving up a pair of mammoth blasts to the slugger in Texas.
Gallo hit more than 900 feet’s worth of home runs against Mize in that start and even confirmed he would participate in the home run derby in the middle of the game.
Mize is a competitor, and he wanted revenge in that matchup. He struck Gallo out in the second inning and induced a weak popup in the fourth. It’s great to see that type of mentality from Mize against one of the best in the league.
27-4: Combined score of Tigers wins since break
The Tigers are 4-0 since the All-Star break, and thanks to Monday’s blowout, their combined score in those wins is 27-4.
In fact, three of those wins have been shutouts -- two against the Minnesota Twins and one against the Rangers.
The pitching has locked down opponents and the offense is averaging 6.75 runs per game. Everything is clicking.
18: Innings since last run against Tigers
Speaking of shutouts, Tigers pitching hasn’t allowed a run in two full games.
The last time the Tigers gave up a run, it was the automatic base runner that started on second base in extra innings Saturday night. After that run scored, Derek Hill, Jonathan Schoop and Miguel Cabrera combined to deliver a walk-off win.
5.0: Scoreless innings from bullpen
Just before the All-Star break, middle relief revealed itself as the greatest weakness for the Tigers. The bullpen blew three leads in a four-game series against the Twins and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth for five long days off.
But Monday was a different story. Many of the same pitchers who struggled late in the first half pitched shutout innings against Texas, albeit with very little pressure.
Joe Jimenez and Buck Farmer both struck out the side. Daniel Norris tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Ian Krol got the final six outs while allowing just one hit.
The back end of the Tigers’ bullpen is solid, but it’s these relievers in the middle who need to improve in the second half. Monday was a good start.
10 and 0: Pitcher strikeouts and walks
Tigers relievers, in particular, have to cut down on the free passes, and none of them issued a walk in Monday’s win.
Jimenez struggled with his control a bit, but otherwise, the Tigers threw a lot of strikes -- exactly what you want to see with a big lead.
Mize is never one to walk many batters, especially when he knows he’s on a strict pitch count. He set the tone and the bullpen followed his lead, getting swings and misses while keeping the Rangers off the base paths.
6 and 4: Batter walks and strikeouts
Conversely, Tigers batters did a great job putting the ball in play and taking what the Rangers gave them.
Only four of the 45 Tigers plate appearances ended in strikeouts Monday, which is encouraging for such a young team.
Jeimer Candelario led the way with a pair of walks, while four others had one apiece. Nobody struck out more than once in the game.
5: Miguel Cabrera RBI
Even though the batting average has risen steadily over the last six weeks, Cabrera still isn’t producing much in the middle of the lineup. That changed in a big way Monday.
Cabrera came through with a bases loaded double in the fifth inning and a bases loaded single in the sixth inning. He turned a close game into a laugher nearly all by himself.
It was encouraging to see Cabrera drive the ball to the pull field, because extra-base hits have been difficult to come by for him this season.
4: Victor Reyes hits
When the Tigers placed Niko Goodrum back on the injured list, they recalled Reyes, who was one of the team’s best hitters for stretches last season but got off to an extremely slow start in 2021.
Well, Reyes hit the ground running this time, racking up four singles and scoring three times in his first game back. He has a knack for putting the ball in play and getting rewarded in bunches, and that was the case again Monday.
2: Akil Baddoo homers in last four games
After Baddoo broke out of his early-season slump, he hit .313 with 23 walks and 30 strikeouts over his next 44 games. He stole 11 bases over that span and posted a .414 on-base percentage.
Simply put, he’s been amazing.
But after hitting four home runs in his first eight career games, Baddoo had just one homer during that 44-game stretch. Nobody was complaining about his production, but it was clear Baddoo wanted to focus on his plate discipline and avoid another long slump.
Now, at least for a few games, Baddoo seems to have rediscovered his power stroke. In his last four games, he’s batting .389 (7-for-18) with two home runs and a triple. He only has one walk compared to seven strikeouts in that span, but it’s nice to see the power is still there when he wants to tap into it.
9: Jonathan Schoop’s hitting streak
Monday was another terrific game for Schoop, who hit two singles, drew a walk, drove in two runs and scored twice.
Schoop has two hits in four of his last five games and a season-long nine-game hitting streak. During that streak, he’s batting .378 with just six strikeouts.
62: Increase in Isaac Paredes’ average
Paredes entered Monday night hitting just .194 in 36 at-bats this season, but he had more walks than strikeouts and was making solid contact without being rewarded.
After going 3-for-3 against Gibson, Paredes is up to a much more respectable .256 on the season. He hit a pair of solid line drives, including a double, and now has a slash line well above MLB average.
Maybe this will be the breakout game that gets Paredes going.
7: Games below .500
I’ve been keeping an eye on this number for weeks, because if the Tigers could get back to .500 this season, it would be a massive accomplishment.
The Tigers have been scratching and clawing their way out of a deep hole since early May, when they fell 15 games below .500. They got within seven games late in the first half, but dropped four straight at Minnesota to go right back to 11 under.
That could have been demoralizing, especially since they had to think about it for five days without playing. But once again, this team bounced back.
Beating the Twins three times over the weekend and crushing Texas gets the Tigers back to where they were before that disastrous series in Minnesota. Detroit has proven to be so resilient throughout the season, and this is just the latest example.