TIGERS (37-83) AT RAYS (72-52)
1:10 p.m. ET; FS-SUN, FS-D, MLB.TV
Matthew Boyd emerged as the Detroit Tigers (+1.5)’ ace early this season, but he hasn’t pitched like one lately.
Boyd will try to get back in a groove at Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday.
He’s been grooving a lot of fastballs this month, allowing eight home runs in three starts. He’s been tagged for 23 long balls since the beginning of June, compared to seven in the first two months of the season.
In his last outing on Tuesday, Boyd twice gave up back-to-back homers to Kyle Seager and Tom Murphy in an 11-6 loss to Seattle.
“I take full responsibility for this loss,” he said to the Detroit News afterward. “It’s on me. I’ve got to be better, especially lately. A few bad pitches, and they happen to be home runs. I want a few of them back, for sure.”
There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with Boyd physically. He’s just not getting away with mistakes.
“There’s also been three or four starts in there where (home runs) weren’t an issue,” Boyd said. “It just ebbs and flows. The last three starts I’ve been battling a little adjustment and it was better (Tuesday) — just the times it wasn’t came back to bite me. You understand why it’s happening. But if you look at a grouping of starts and say this is where it started happening, that’s kind of short-sighted in my opinion. Each outing is a little different.”
The bottom line is all that matters, and Boyd (6-9, 4.38 ERA) believes he’ll turn things around quickly. He’s made three starts against Tampa Bay in his career, going 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA.
“I have complete confidence, I know I am going to get better from this going forward,” Boyd said. “Over the next five days, I will make the adjustments like I need to. I never guarantee success, but I know I will put myself in the best position to be the best pitcher I can be.”
Tampa Bay is expected to call up right-hander Trevor Richards from Triple-A Durham to take the ball Sunday, with righty Peter Fairbanks optioned to Durham.
Richards (3-12, 4.50 ERA) was acquired from the Miami Marlins (+1.5) before the trade deadline and will make his Rays debut. He has faced the Tigers once in his career, allowing one run on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision on May 23.
Runs have been hard to come by in the series. Detroit won the opener 2-0, and Tampa Bay captured the middle game 1-0 in 13 innings. The Rays had gone scoreless for 29 consecutive innings before their walk-off victory.
The Rays have been surprisingly average at Tropicana Field this season, posting a 32-29 mark. They’re firmly in the playoff hunt thanks to a 40-23 road record, best in the majors.
“I know we’re going to talk about (the home record) until we get on a run here,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t have a good answer for you. For any of it, really. … I do know we have to play better at home.”
–Field Level Media