Tigers on bad side of old baseball adage
JUL 05, 2014 7:31p ET
It's one of the oldest adages in baseball because it's true: Good pitching beats good hitting.
And when the other team's starter pitches better than your starting pitcher, you will most likely lose unless you can somehow get that starter out of the game early.
Austin Jackson led off the Tigers' half of the first with a single, but the Tigers only managed five other hits off of Archer.
After Jackson's single, the Tigers didn't get another hit until Torii Hunter led off the bottom of the fifth with a single.
"Archer, he was pretty good," Hunter said. "He had some some poise on the mound for a young guy and explosive fastball, had the two-seamers in and out. Good slider. He's definitely one of the best young pitchers in the game."
The few times the Tigers did manage to hit the ball hard, it usually went right to a Rays' defender, a couple of times straight at Archer, who lasted 8 1/3 innings.
"We tried to be aggressive early on against him," Jackson said. "He was throwing a lot of fastballs early in the count. We just weren't able to get that big, key hit when we needed it. A lot of ground-ball outs. We hit lot of balls hard, but didn't have anything to show for it."
Archer had 12 ground-ball outs to six fly-outs.
If any of these things sound familiar, it's because the Oakland A's said nearly the same thing about Rick Porcello the other day when he threw a complete-game shutout.
It's easy to say, well, you should foul off some pitches or take some pitches, but if a guy is hitting his spots, that's easier said than done.
Here's what Oakland's Brandon Moss said about Porcello: "We're usually a patient team, but the guy's out there throwing first-pitch strikes to everybody, he's rarely behind. It gets to a point you can't keep allowing him to get ahead of you, you have to swing the bat."
Now, the Tigers aren't always the most patient team but particularly when Victor Martinez is out of the lineup, they will struggle against a good pitcher who's able to locate.
"(Archer) made a lot of good pitches," J.D. Martinez said. "I feel like he didn't have many pitches over the plate, at least to me. Everything was corners in, away, up and in, down and away, down and in. Anytime you have a guy throwing 96 that has good movement doing that, it's going to be tough."
Alex Avila and Martinez were the only ones to get to Archer, on solo home runs in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively.
"You gotta look fastball against that guy," Martinez said. "He throws too hard to look anything else and he throws a lot of fastballs right now. So I went up there looking for a fastball and was trying to hit something up the middle."
For a while, the Tigers managed a pitchers' duel as Anibal Sanchez didn't allow a hit until the fifth.
But once Sanchez did give up a hit, the floodgates opened.
Logan Forsythe hit a home run for the Rays' first hit and run, quickly followed by a walk, an RBI triple and a two-run single for a 3-0 lead.
"I got really good four innings and I think after the homer and walk, I think everything changed right there," Sanchez said. "My ball started being up in the strike zone, no more down, that's why they Tampa take advantage of the pitch in the high zone."
In the sixth, the Rays took advantage of Sanchez again, scoring four more runs.
"After getting ahead of guys, it seemed like 3, 4, 5 pitches after getting two strikes, it took to get some guys out," Avila said. "I think by that point, he might have been a little tired and had trouble keeping pitches down in those innings."
The Tigers finally got Archer up over 100 pitches in the ninth but by then, it was too late and the Rays' Grant Balfour didn't have any trouble finishing the game.
"You never want to see, as an offensive standpoint, a pitcher go nine innings against you," Martinez said. "That's just a slap. You never want to let that happen."
Now the Tigers hope that Porcello, who has thrown two consecutive complete-game shutouts, can make it happen again Sunday night against the Rays in order to salvage a split in the series.
NOTE: Tigers rookie reliever Patrick McCoy left the game after running to cover first base in the top of the ninth on Ben Zobrist's infield single.
The Tigers announced McCoy had a right hamstring strain and McCoy was seen limping through the clubhouse.
"He has a strain in the middle of his hamstring, said he felt it on the second step over to first base," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He tried to throw a pitch and felt it when he tried to throw a warmup pitch. So we'll figure out what we're going to do in terms of what his status will be. I haven't talked to Dave (Dombrowski) about it but we'll make that decision in a little bit."