Detroit Tigers’ Matthew Boyd starts strong, falls apart in 7-4 loss to Indians

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DETROIT — Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd was perfect through four innings, thanks to ditching his slider and leaning heavily on his changeup and curveball.

He was taking another step forward in a return from early-season troubles, but the Cleveland Indians got to him for three runs in the fifth inning, and then two more in the sixth.

Boyd didn’t recover, and the offense didn’t help much, until late.

The Tigers (22-30) took a 7-4 loss to the Indians on Sunday at Comerica Park to complete the four-game series and their season series against the Indians. They’ve dropped 14 of their last 19 games and haven’t earned back-to-back wins since Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.

Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd throws against the Indians in the first inning on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, at Comerica Park.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Tigers are four games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL’s eighth and final playoff spot.

After a day off Monday, the Tigers travel to Minnesota for a two-game series against the Twins. A pair of rookies — left-hander Tarik Skubal and righty Casey Mize — will start in Minneapolis.


Evaluating Boyd

His changeup and curveball in the opening four innings looked better than anything he has thrown this season. The movement was great, and the command was even better. Coming off 5? scoreless innings in his previous start, Boyd looked good.

But the fifth inning started with a single, walk and another single to put a run on the board for the Indians. Delino DeShields drove in two more runs on a single to center field.

And in the sixth? Jose Ramirez pounded a two-run home run. He finished with two homers Sunday — his second multi-homer game of the series and fourth this season.

Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd throws against the Indians in the fifth inning on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, at Comerica Park.

Boyd allowed five runs on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts. He was pulled by interim manager Lloyd McClendon before recording an out in the sixth. Left-hander Nick Ramirez replaced him.

Of Boyd’s 87 pitches, he threw 51% four-seam fastballs, 24% changeups, 13% curveballs, 10% sliders and 2% sinkers. He produced 10 swinging strikes (seven with his changeup) and 12 called strikes. His fastball maxed out at 92.8 mph and averaged 91.7 mph.


Carrasco counters

Right-hander Carlos Carrasco entered the dugout after the seventh inning and knew he had done his job, much like teammates Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco throws against the Tigers in the first inning on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, at Comerica Park.

He struck out 11 batters, only issuing one hit and three walks. He produced 24 swinging strikes, 12 called strikes and averaged a 94.9 mph fastball.

Carrasco’s 109 pitches went for 45% four-seam fastballs, 24% sliders, 17% changeups and 14% curveballs.

Once Carrasco left the game after seven scoreless innings, the Tigers scored against reliever Cam Hill in the eighth. Cabrera’s two-run homer — his seventh in 2020 — snapped an 0-for-13 streak. Just before his blast to right field, Willi Castro had a broken-bat single to put the Tigers on the board.


Last home game (maybe)

The ninth inning concluded with the Tigers attempting a comeback but falling three runs short.

Rookie third baseman Isaac Paredes had the last at-bat at Comerica Park until the 2021 season, when the Tigers show up for Opening Day on April 1 against the Indians.

The Tigers were 12-15 at Comerica Park this season.

That comes with one caveat: If the Tigers end up playing their doubleheader with the St. Louis Cardinals — with a playoff spot on the line for one or both of the teams — it would almost certainly be in Detroit.

Otherwise, the Tigers will finish their schedule with two games against the Twins at Target Field and four against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.


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