Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) reacts after striking out in front of New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann (34) during the first inning at Yankee Stadium.
NEW YORK — A mist settled over Yankee Stadium Saturday night. Too bad it didn’t block the view back home, because the Tigers played in a fog.
Hey, enough with the weather metaphors. Fine, but how else to explain a 14-3 drubbing?
Well, a poor start by Alfredo Simon. Another poor showing from Tigers hitters, at least until the seventh inning, when they finally scored a run.
And a poor effort from the bullpen, first from Ian Krol, who relieved Simon and gave up five hits and three runs, on a three-run shot to Alex Rodriguez, and then from Tom Gorzelanny, who gave up three hits and three runs.
Gorzelanny has struggled recently. But then why pick on him?
This team simply doesn’t score enough, which is why the Tigers have lost four straight, and are now back at .500 (34-34) and why they trail the Royals by a season-high 6 and ½ games.
“We got our butts whipped,” said Brad Ausmus, who said he talked to the team after the game but wouldn’t reveal what he said.
When asked if he was pleased with the energy level and the way his team is grinding out at-bats, he said, “at times.”
It’s tricky measuring those sorts of intangibles after a game like Saturday’s. As Ausmus said, “it’s just one of those blowout games that you have a handful of every year. It’s just the timing of it is less than ideal. It’s easier to handle a blowout if you’ve won a few games. After losing a few in a row and you get blown out of at the end of it then obviously the bitterness is more biting.”
If you are wondering when the last time the Tigers faced a deficit of 6 and ½ games or more, take solace, because they were six back in mid-June of 2012, the year they got to the World Series. And they were eight back in early May in 2011, the year they got to the American League Championship Series … and lost.
But then you knew that.
What you may not have known is that the Tigers are now 1-5 against the Yankees this year. What you also may not know is that Brad Ausmus, the team’s manager, is at a loss to explain why his team can’t score.
Because although the Tigers only had seven hits Saturday night, the team can very clearly hit. The numbers tell us as much.
In the last four losses, the Tigers have scored 11 runs, or, roughly 2.5 runs per game. They scored half a run more than that Saturday.
“If we keep playing like this we are going nowhere,” said Victor Martinez. “But we never give up. We have a lot of season left.”
If it seems a bit unfair to blame the offense for the loss on a night when the opponent scored 14 runs, well, the offense has been stuck for a while, and Simon has pitched solidly lately. As have most of the starters — in fact, Simon didn’t give up a run in his last outing.
He struggled from the beginning against the Yankees and couldn’t get out of the third inning. He left with his team down five runs. That was essentially the game.
The Yankees ended up with five home runs. It got so bad for the Tigers that Ausmus sent utility infielder Josh Wilson to the mound to pitch the eighth.