For the first time since March 12, the Detroit Tigers played against a team not wearing the Old English “D”.
In an exhibition Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, the Tigers lost, 9-7, at Great American Ball Park. With the game tied in the eighth inning, reliever Beau Burrows entered and gave up a two-run homer to ex-Tiger Eugenio Suarez and a solo shot to Jesse Winker.
The second and final exhibition game is at 6:10 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a day of rest Thursday. The shortened 60-game season begins at 6:10 p.m. Friday, as left-handed pitcher Matthew Boyd squares off against Cincinnati right-hander Sonny Gray to begin the three-game series.
Here are observations from Tuesday’s exhibition game:
Facing Reds left-handed starter Nick Lodolo, who isn’t expected to make the big-league club, the Tigers went raking. Last season, Detroit finished with 149 home runs, three behind the league-worst Miami Marlins.
But in the top of the second inning, Detroit posted five runs on doubles from Christin Stewart and Austin Romine, followed by three consecutive home runs from JaCoby Jones (left field), Niko Goodrum (center field) and Jonathan Schoop (left field). The homers gave the Tigers a 5-0 lead.
The home runs from Jones, Goodrum and Schoop went 415 feet, 405 feet and 412 feet, respectively, for a grand total of 1,232 feet on three pitches. Jones and Goodrum went deep on fastballs, while Scoop took advantage of Lodolo on a slider.
Lodolo, a 2019 first-round pick, was chased after 1⅓ innings, issuing five runs on eight hits. Of his 35 pitches, 21 went for strikes.
Castellanos faces old team
A blast from the recent past, former Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos started at right field and batting fifth. The first play of the game, a line drive from Goodrum, was gloved by Castellanos after a nifty slide in the outfield.
At the plate, Castellanos struck out looking twice before grounding out in the sixth, but he finished with a single in the eighth inning. In 51 games for the Chicago Cubs last season, after a trade in July, the 28-year-old slashed .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs and 36 RBIs.
The other former Tiger, Suarez, finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
[ Former Detroit Tiger Nick Castellanos sends ‘love and respect’ to ex-teammates from Cincinnati ]
Cabrera starts strong
Miguel Cabrera picked up the first hit of the night for the Tigers with a single to left-center on a 3-1 count. He singled again to center in the second inning off Lodolo .
The 37-year-old slugger hit a bouncer to shortstop Freddy Galvis in the top of the fourth but reached on a fielder’s choice, as Galvis went to third base to get Schoop out on his attempt to advance.
Cabrera finished 2-for-4 with a strikeout.
He got plenty of help from his teammates, as Goodrum, Schoop (2), Stewart, Romine, Jones, C.J. Cron (2), Harold Castro and Brandon Dixon registered hits. Only two starters — Jeimer Candelario and Cameron Maybin — went hitless.
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Bryan Garcia shines out of ‘pen
Right-hander Dario Agrazal went three innings before handing things over to reliever Bryan Garcia. In the fourth, Garcia retired Mike Moustakas, Castellanos and Winker on 10 pitches combined. He struck out Castellanos looking on three pitches.
Garcia’s performance boosts his stock, as the 25-year-old needed a strong outing to help secure a spot when the final roster is released Thursday. In seven games — 6⅔ innings — Garcia gave up nine runs on nine hits and five walks with seven strikeouts.
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Agrazal tossed 40 pitches (28 strikes) and gave up three runs on two hits and a hit-by-pitch. Both hits were home runs — from Galvis and Tucker Barnhart.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.
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