Detroit Tigers blast Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1, in series opener: Game thread replay

·3 min read

Detroit Tigers (26-43) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (32-39)

When: 9:40 p.m. Friday.

Where: Chase Field in Phoenix.

TV: Apple TV+ (online only, no Bally Sports Detroit broadcast).

Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).

First-pitch forecast: Partly cloudy, 100s (Park has a retractable roof).

Probable pitchers: Tigers LHP Rony García (1-2, 4.97 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly (6-4, 3.46 ERA)


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Tigers lineup

1. Victor Reyes, RF

2. Riley Greene, CF

3. Javier Báez, SS

4. Miguel Cabrera, DH

5. Robbie Grossman, LF

6. Spencer Torkelson, 1B

7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B

8. Jonathan Schoop 2B

9. Eric Haase, C

P. Rony García, RHP

Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson hits a sacrifice fly, allowing Riley Greene to score, in the second inning on Monday, June 20, 2022, in Boston.
Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson hits a sacrifice fly, allowing Riley Greene to score, in the second inning on Monday, June 20, 2022, in Boston.

Game notes: The Tigers’ three-city road trip continues with a three-game visit to Phoenix to face the NL West’s fourth-place team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-backs are seven games under .500, but that still has to be considered a victory, considering they lost 110 games last season, including 24 of 27 in June 2021.

This June hasn’t been great for the Snakes, as they’re coming off a three-game sweep by the NL West-leading Padres in San Diego, with a 7-13 record this month. Still, they took two out of three from the AL Central-leading Twins, so don’t sleep on Arizona’s talent. The key matchup: Rony García vs. Arizona’s Christian Walker. The 31-year-old’s 19 home runs rank second in the NL, behind only the Mets’ Pete Alonso. (They’re also two more than he had in 172 games combined in 2020-21.) Walker also has 18 doubles, third in the NL. Rookie center fielder Alek Thomas is having a solid start since his May 8 callup; Arizona’s 2018 second-round pick out of high school in Chicago is slashing .275/.338/.788, including six homers and seven doubles in 41 games.

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The Diamondbacks will send righty Merrill Kelly to the mound; perhaps he and fellow Arizona State alumus Spencer Torkelson can sing their alma mater’s fight song, “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” before the game. (Kidding; the ASU fight song is a lovely ditty titled “Maroon and Gold”  and featuring the classic phrase, “Hail, hail, the gang’s all here!”) Kelly , 33, is in his fourth season in the majors, with 66 strikeouts and 29 walks over 78 innings. The 2010 Rays eighth-rounder has spent his entire MLB career in the NL, meaning he doesn’t have much experience with Tigers hitters.

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Just three Tigers have faced Kelly: Robbie Grossman, who was 1-for-2 with a double in 2020; Tucker Barnhart, who was 0-fopr-3 with a strikeout in 2019 and Jevier Baez who is 2-for-10 (both singles) with two RBIs and — because it’s the Javy Way — five strikeouts. (Kelly doesn’t throw a slider, at least; instead, he relies on the ol’ four-seamer/changeup combo. The two pitches account for 54.2% of his throws this season.)

Don’t flip over/click over to Bally Sports Detroit for the series opener, however; the 9:40 p.m. start at Chase Field is available only on Apple TV+. Expect a clean visual design, some unfamiliar statistics and, hopefully, a better performance than the Tigers’ most recent appearance on Apple TV, when they allowed 13 runs to the Yankees on June 3. The rest of the series, however — a 10:10 p.m. start Saturday and a 4:10 first pitch Sunday — will be on Bally Sports Detroit. After their time in Phoenix is wrapped up, the Tigers head further west for a two-game set in San Francisco. The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, get a visit from those pesky Padres on Tuesday.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers blast Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-1: Game thread replay