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The Detroit Tigers Can Feel Good Heading into Jackie Robinson Day

After getting swept by the Cleveland Indians, the Detroit Tigers went into Houston and swept the Astros. This was exactly what the doctor ordered for Tigers fans as it started looking like another one of those years. It still might end up being a chase the top draft pick kind of year, but at least for now, there is some hope that Detroit can start turning the corner.

On Monday, the Tigers provided manager AJ Hinch a boost when they beat the Astros 6-2 as Hinch made his return to Houston for the first time after being fired. Casey Mize picked up his first win and looked efficient while doing so. His first win came against future Hall-of-Famer Zack Greinke. That’s something he will always remember as it came in his 9th start. The bottom of the lineup produced in a clutch manner and the 7-8-9 hitters each hit a home run in the game.

Taking over for the injured Miguel Cabrera, Renato Nunez (batting 7th) stepped up to produce in his first start at 1st base for the year. In the third inning, Nunez and Akil Baddoo hit back-to-back home runs with 2 outs in the inning.

Akil Baddoo (batting 8th) continued to shine as he went 2-for-3 with a HR, Sac-Fly RBI, and a double off the right-centerfield wall. The double looked like a home run at first as Baddoo was jogging out of the batter’s box. First base coach, Ramon Santiago, even put out his hand to congratulate Baddoo, but the ball ended up hitting the bottom of the wall, and Baddoo had a stand-up double. On a positive note, Baddoo looked frustrated with himself as he knew he should have been standing on third base. This was refreshing to see.

It’s anyone’s guess as to what Baddoo’s statistics will look like at the end of the season, but for now, just enjoy the ride. Tiger fans have needed this for the last few seasons.

Grayson Greiner (batting 9th) hit a two-run home run in the 2nd inning as he helped get the scoring started against the Astros. Greiner would end up 2-for-4 with 3 RBI’s.

So that was Monday. On Tuesday, the Tigers would continue hitting. Wilson Ramos led the charge as he blasted two home runs. This would give him the A.L. lead in home runs for the year. I’m pretty sure it has been a few years since a player on Detroit was leading the league in this category. My guess is that it has been since Miguel Cabrera or J.D. Martinez were leading the way around 2012-2015.

Akil Baddoo, Nomar Mazara, and Renato Nunez also hit home runs for the Tigers as they went on to beat the Astros, 8-2. Matthew Boyd had a strong outing, picking up the win. His final stat line: 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K while throwing 100 pitches. All six hits were singles.

After Tuesday, Detroit led the A.L. with 19 home runs on the 2021 season. The last time they had an outright A.L. home run lead at least ten days into a season was July 30, 2007. Also, Akil Baddoo became the first Tiger with 4 home runs in his first 8 career games.

On Wednesday, Detroit got back to a .500 record as they beat Houston, 6-4. After hitting home runs the past two nights, Detroit won without hitting the long ball. Baddoo put together a solid at-bat in the 2nd inning off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. His RBI double came off of a breaking ball that went down the left field line scoring Nunez. Detroit tacked on two more runs that inning getting RBI’s from Niko Goodrum and Robbie Grossman.

McCullers Jr. did not have a good night as he was wildly ineffective throughout the game. But give Detroit credit as they did not chase too many pitches out of the zone.

Michael Fulmer was dealing as he was starting for the first time this season. The Plumber looked like his 2017 self when he was throwing over 95-mph with his fastball. This is a good sign as he was able to get through 5 innings tonight to secure his first win since June 14, 2018.

Fulmer was perfect through 3 innings when he finally gave up a hit to Michael Brantley with 2 outs in the fourth inning.  He retired the first 11 batters in order. He stranded two runners in scoring position as he induced a ground ball out from Kyle Tucker to end the inning. He ran into trouble in the fifth inning when he issued his first walk of the season to Abraham Toro.  Two batters later, Jason Castro hit a two-run home run to deep centerfield. This ended the shutout, but Fulmer struck out Myles Straw to end the 5th inning.

Fulmer’s final stat line: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K while throwing 78 pitches.

The bullpen again made it interesting towards the end of the game, but Detroit improved its record to 6-6 with a victory. Next up for the Detroit Tigers is the Oakland Athletics as Jackie Robinson is celebrated throughout the day.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – APRIL 13: Wilson Ramos #40 of the Detroit Tigers watches his solo home run in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 13, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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