Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor made his major league debut on Sunday against the Tigers, entering the game as a pinch-hitter for David Murphy in the seventh inning. He struck out against Blaine Hardy, but he stayed in the game and would eventually redeem himself, sort of.
Trying to help spark a seven-run rally, Lindor ripped a line drive to right field against Joakim Soria. It would have been an easy double, but Lindor stumbled rounding the first base bag and had to settle for a single for his first major league hit. Jokingly, Lindor pointed at first baseman Miguel Cabrera, accusing him of interfering in his path to second base. Cabrera was nowhere near Lindor when he fell. Cabrera and first base umpire Chris Segal had a good chuckle at Lindor’s joke.
At the very least, Lindor made his first major league game memorable.
The Tigers dropped their eighth straight game last night against the White Sox. And it happened in heartbreaking fashion.
After getting a strong outing from rookie left-hander Kyle Ryan and a go-ahead two-run single from Josh Wilson in the seventh inning, the Tigers appeared primed to finally snap the losing streak. Joakim Soria, who has been very solid since taking over the closer role for Detroit, had the White Sox down to their final out in the bottom of the ninth. However, Adam LaRoche provided some heroics for Chicago by slugging a game-tying solo home run. Gut punch.
Then we move to the 11th, when Alex Wilson allowed back-to-back singles to Adam Eaton and Alexei Ramirez. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus understandably decided to intentionally walk Jose Abreu to load the bases, but then this happened…
Yes, a walk-off hit-by-pitch. Ouch. Well, double-ouch, really.
The Tigers have now have their longest losing streak since 2005. They have slipped to an even 28-28 on the year, putting them five games off the pace in the American League Central. They’ll look to ace David Price to stop the bleeding tonight.
The Tigers received some grim news on Thursday when they learned closer Joe Nathan suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow during a rehab start. The right-hander will need season-ending Tommy John surgery. Nathan had made only once appearance during the 2015 regular season, recording a one-out save.
As Nathan is 40 years old and will be 41 if and when he takes the mound next season. That, along with his struggles last year, caused many to speculate that the veteran is headed towards retirement. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports otherwise. “I am preparing myself to be a major league player again,” Nathan said. “That is my goal.”
Nathan blew seven saves with a 4.81 ERA and a mediocre 54/29 K/BB ratio in 58 innings.
Joakim Soria has pitched well in the closer’s role sans Nathan. On the season, he’s 5-for-5 in save chances with a 1.35 ERA and a 4/0 K/BB ratio in 6 2/3 innings.
Some positive news on the Joe Nathan front.
According to James Schmehl of MLive.com, the veteran closer has been cleared to make a rehab appearance Wednesday and Triple-A Toledo and he anticipates rejoining the Tigers after just one outing.
Nathan was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 8 with a Grade 1 flexor strain in his elbow. He’d made just one appearance for Detroit this year, earning a one-out save on Opening Day against the Twins.
Joakim Soria has picked up five saves in Nathan’s absence, but he’ll be moved back to a setup role.
MLive.com’s James Schmehl reports that Tigers closer Joe Nathan threw off a mound for the first time since being diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right elbow. Nathan threw 15 pitches and reported feeling “awesome”. He’s on track to throw a bullpen on Monday. If things go as planned, Nathan could be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Joakim Soria has been closing games out for the Tigers in the interim and has done a good job. In 5 2/3 innings, the right-hander has converted all four save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA and a 4/0 K/BB ratio. Per MLive.com’s Chris Iott, manager Brad Ausmus plans to put Nathan back in the closer’s role and Soria back as the set-up man. Nathan, now 40 years old, is coming off of a miserable 2014 campaign and struggled to open the season prior to his injury.