DETROIT — Tigers manager AJ Hinch was saying, hours before Monday night's game, that you can't worry about yesterday. You've gotta focus on today.
Of course, reality is, todays always eventually turn into yesterdays — and that's a problem for the Tigers.
For the second consecutive game, the Tigers were shut out — they haven't scored a run in 24 innings — and this time, making matters worse, it was by the Oakland A's, who came into the opener of an odd five-game series having lost nine straight. They beat the Tigers, 2-0, and Detroit now has lost six straight. Hinch and Javy Baez were ejected in the ninth inning of the latest loss, as Tigers' tempers flared.
Hinch had said before the game that he was seeing some slight signs of the Tigers' offense possibly awakening, even in Houston, where Detroit was swept four straight and only scored six runs, total.
Then the Tigers went out and managed just four hits against the A's — a single by Baez in the first (matching the Tigers' hit total from Sunday), a single by Tucker Barnhart in the third, a double by Austin Meadows in the fourth and a single by Jonathan Schoop in the seventh.
Of course, Schoop's single in the seventh wasn't hit nearly as hard as his scorching line drive that was caught at third base in the fourth, ending that inning and stranding Meadows at second.
So, sure, there's some bad luck involved, if you wanna go there.
But the Tigers also never had more than one runner on in any inning Monday night, until a pair of walks in the ninth. After the Baez single in the first, Miguel Cabrera lined to first base, doubling off Baez.
After the soft Barnhart single in the third, Derek Hill, oddly, bunted with one out, and it essentially served as a sacrifice — and a bridge to nowhere when Robbie Grossman struck out looking. (He had a legit beef and said his piece, as did Hinch, before letting it go.) Schoop then finally discovered a hole for a single with two out in the seventh inning, only for Jeimer Candelario to ground out to end that, well, sure let's call it a threat.
The offense is so lifeless right now, a "tickets distributed" crowd of 12,674 ooh'd and ahh'd over several Tigers flyballs ... each of which settled safely into the gloves of A's outfielders, dozens of feet from the warning track. Then again, hard to blame the fans. The Tigers have hit one home run at home since April 14.
A's pitcher Paul Blackburn (4-0) went 6.2 innings, striking out three and walking nobody.
Dany Jimenez worked around some wildness to pick up his fifth save in the ninth inning, when tensions finally got the best of the Tigers — Baez was ejected by plate umpire Nick Mahrley after arguing a called third strike, before Hinch followed him to the exits.
Miguel Cabrera then struck out swinging before Meadows walked to put the tying runs on the bases, and then Schoop struck out to end the game. Grossman was stranded on second following a leadoff walk.
All in all, the Tigers wasted a pretty good start from Michael Pineda (1-2), who went 6.2 innings, allowed two runs on six hits and two walks, and struck out four. He gave up a solo home run to right to Tony Kemp in the third inning, and then an RBI single to Chad Pinder in the fourth inning. Sean Murphy doubled to lead off the fourth, then went to third on a flyball to center, where Hill was caught somewhat flat-footed.
In any event, not bad at all for Pineda — pitching, despite all the injuries, hasn't been a problem at all — but not perfect, either. And with this Tigers offense, well, you get it. Rony Garcia, just back from Toledo, was perfect, for two innings, and even that wasn't enough,
The Tigers on Monday boasted a lineup making $83.25 million in 2022. They've scored 78 runs in 28 games.
The Tigers, who dropped to 9.5 games out of first in the American League Central (it's May 9, people), will continue their series with the A's with a doubleheader Tuesday, starting at 1:10. And it's a straight doubleheader, meaning you get two games for a single ticket.
If you're lucky, you might see more than four Tigers hits ... for the day.
But no promises.