Walk-off hit-by-pitch sends Tigers to eighth straight loss

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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.

Yasmani Grandal signs a four-year, $73 million deal with the White Sox

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The first truly big free agent signing of the offseason has gone down: the Chicago White Sox just announced that they have signed catcher Yasmani Grandal to a four-year, $73 million deal.

Grandal, 31, was the best catcher available in free agency. He is coming off a fine year with the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom he had to settle for a one-year pact in 2019. He hit .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 driven in. It was his fourth straight season with 20+ homers. While his catching has been criticized due to some high-profile mistakes in the postseason, the two-time All-Star once again proved himself to be one of the best pitch-framers in the game if not the best. Between the bat and the glove he has a claim to being one of the best all-around catchers in baseball.

The signing leaves open the question of what happens to James McCann, who was himself an All-Star this year. It’s not that hard a question, of course, as Grandal is a far superior catcher to McCann in every respect. The Sox could make McCann a backup. Alternatively, they could try to trade him to fill other holes on the roster.

The White Sox finished 72-89 in 2019 but are showing signs of coming out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. This signing pushes them a big step into that direction.