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By Chris McCosky

DETROIT — Cruel game.

This was not the way Joey Wentz pictured his big-league debut going. All those months grinding, working, rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery, it was the dream of finally getting that call to the big leagues that drove him.

Not every big-league debut has a storybook ending.

The lefty Wentz lasted just 2.2 innings in his inaugural Major League start Wednesday, tagged for six runs and seven hits and the loss as the Tigers were beaten by the Oakland Athletics, 9-0, at Comerica Park.

It was a grind right from the start. The first batter he faced, Tony Kemp, the only left-handed hitter in the Athletics’ lineup, battled Wentz for 12 pitches, finally working a walk. After a wild pitch and a ground out moved Kemp to third, Wentz got Chad Pinder to hit a ground ball right at shortstop Javier Baez.

Baez caught Kemp between third and home and Kemp was finally tagged out after a 6-5-2-6-3 rundown. Pinder, though, got to third and scored on a bloop single by Sean Murphy.

That was the only softly-struck ball off Wentz. He gave up three bullet singles and two runs in the second and a triple to Sheldon Neuse and a two-run double to Kevin Smith in the third. The average exit velocity on balls put in play against Wentz was 94 mph.

Wentz has battled command since coming back from Tommy John surgery and it bit him in his debut. He needed 73 pitches to get eight outs. He walked two and threw a first-pitch strike to just one of his last seven hitters.

His fastball, too, lost live as the outing went on. He was hitting 96 mph in the first inning, but by the end it was ringing in at 91 and 92.

He will have better nights.

For Oakland starter and lefty Zach Logue, it was just his second big-league start, though you’d never know it by the way he breezed through the Tigers’ batting order.

He pitches off a relatively low-octane four-seam fastball (89-91 mph) that hitters had been 5 for 14 against coming into the game. But the Tigers couldn’t do much with it.

Logue gave up five hits in seven shutout innings, getting swinging strike-threes against Miguel Cabrera, Spencer Torkelson and Willi Castro. The average exit velocity on the 11 balls put in play against the fastball was a mild 87 mph.

Logue got six swings-and-misses and nine called strikes with his four-seam. He got 16 swings-and-misses total, five with his curve ball.

Even on the rare times the Tigers got him in favorable counts they didn’t do much damage. Jeimer Candelario got a 90-mph fastball over the heart of the plate on a 3-1 count and popped it weakly to the right side of the infield.

Cabrera did lace a couple of singles off Logue, raising his career hit total to 3,012. He passed Wade Boggs and sits alone at 29 on baseball’s all-time hit list. Derek Hill also had two hits. Cabrera added another single in the ninth inning.

In Game 2 Tuesday night, the Tigers were blanked over 5.1 innings by right-hander Adrian Martinez, who was making his big-league debut. On Wednesday, Logue shuts them down for seven innings.

Those two pitchers had a combined ERA over 13.0 at Triple-A Las Vegas before being called up. The Tigers have been shutout in three of their last four losses.

It's not good.

The Tigers were 11-24 at this point last season, and ascending. They are 9-22 now and it feels like they are free-falling.

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Dive Deeper:
Offense awakens, returns to slumber as Tigers split doubleheader vs. A's
DETROIT — Baseball has an odd way of sorting things out sometimes.
Tigers claw out of early hole, but drop series finale to Athletics
DETROIT — There will be stretches of the season when giving a team a three-run head-start in the first inning…
Miguel Cabrera's 504th career homer highlights Tigers' 4-2 win over Orioles in opener
DETROIT — Might as well start with the future Hall of Famer.
Patrick Sandoval’s devastating changeup is a mystery, even to the Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jack Mayfield began and ended the season with the Angels in 2021, but in the middle the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Daniel Vogelbach, Pirates out-slug Dodgers for surprising series victory
PITTSBURGH — Daniel Vogelbach finished his swing, dropped his bat and stared toward the Clemente Wall in right field. The…
Yankees’ Miguel Castro totally confused the batter with an unfair 99 mph sinker that broke 25 inches
It looked like CGI.
Get all your news in one place