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Yes, it’s April. But the Detroit Tigers inexplicable loss to the Twins on Tuesday night could come back to haunt them by season’s end.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Miguel Sano hit a deep fly ball to right fielder Robbie Grossman. While it would’ve been a tough catch, Grossman sure did have a shot at it. Unfortunately, said line drive went over his head, starting the circus act that was Detroit’s ninth-inning fielding display.
This is not the first time Detroit’s work in the field has gotten in their way.
Grossman got the ball in relatively quickly, forcing the Twins to keep their runners at second and third base. Catcher Eric Haase had Gio Urshela stuck in a rundown between second and third base, but an attempted throw to third went over every Tigers infielder, and the Twins would score the winning runs as a result.
Tigers full of excuses for embarrassing defeat
With the above context, one would expect the Tigers to be defeated, angry and defiant. Instead, they gave the usual excuses, which often separates pretenders from contenders.
“That was a very ugly ending to an otherwise well-played game,” manager AJ Hinch said, per the Detroit News. “We did a lot of good things tonight and put ourselves in position, and then made a mess of the ninth.”
The good things, as in Javy Baez carrying the team on his back in a wasted effort?
“It was just out of my reach,” Grossman said. “I got the ball back in, but it was out of my reach.”
Grossman is right, he recovered quite well. But he clearly didn’t take the best possible route to a ball that hung in the air a surprisingly long time.
And as for Haase, the catcher whose error cemented the Tigers fate? Well, it turns out it was the baseball’s fault.
“I never had a good grip on the ball,” Haase said. “(The ball) coming in from the outfield, I slipped and then frickin’ grabbed a big, ole’ mud ball and just sailed it. It was a base running mishap by them. I was going to run the guy back and tag both runners, but there’d be no one at home.”
These are not the answers of a team which expects to win.
“We can — and will — be better,” said no one on the Tigers roster.