Detroit — The Tigers’ clubhouse remained closed for at least 30 minutes after Wednesday’s game.
After being swept at home by an exhausted White Sox roster, losing the Finals 13-0 in humiliating fashion and having to use three position players to cover the last three innings on the mound, it was time to take the air to clean.
“No one likes to be given an A– every night,” said catcher Eric Haase, who confirmed the team held a players-only meetup. “We think we’re a better team, but for some reason we’re not working. We’re just trying to get back into that groove somehow.”
Haase said the players spoke on a wide range of topics with the general consensus: “We need to play better.”
“Of course it’s frustrating,” said Haase. “The way we play nobody likes it. It’s very old. We want to change that. But getting in the weeds with the negative stuff won’t be a good way forward. So hopefully we’ve broadcast it.” and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
BOX RESULT: White Sox 13, Tiger 0
Shortstop Javier Báez, who was given the day off on Wednesday, didn’t want to call it a meeting and he didn’t want it to come off as if there was any disagreement in the room. Just a group of players trying to figure out how to successfully play baseball again.
“We just talked,” he said. “And the first thing I’ll say is we don’t have to be around each other. We’re already around each other. We have a table tennis tournament and everyone is there and cheering for each other. So it’s not like we don’t know each other or we don’t know how they are or whatever.
“But in baseball, everything has to work out right.”
The Tigers were outplayed by the White Sox 27-6. They were outplayed 33-6 in this recent four-game worse game. They were ruled out for the ninth time this season, matching their total from last season.
“We’re responsible for the performance,” said manager AJ Hinch. “This is unacceptable. We’re better than that. We haven’t met the standards we expect. What the solution is, we talk about it all the time. As long as the message is consistent with what we think is right.
“That’s where we are right now. We are all responsible, the players, coaches, managers, the front office, everyone. Because it was below par.”
Tigers starter Alex Faedo had not allowed more than two runs in any of his first seven starts this season. But he gave up a three-run home run to Yoan Moncada in the first inning and ended up going for seven runs and nine hits and not getting out of the fourth inning.
That left the last six innings to an already overworked bullpen. This the day after the bullpen included five innings Tuesday night and five innings the night before and five innings the day before.
Relivers had pitched 27 innings in their last six games before Wednesday. So Hinch did what he loathes – he used not one, but three positional players to finish the game.
“Pretty taxed bullpen, pretty bad game and seven games til next day off,” he said. “At this point we’re just trying to salvage our best chance of winning tomorrow.”
Harold Castro, Kody Clemens and Tucker Barnhart have eaten these last three innings — the first time in franchise history the Tigers have used three position players for a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“It’s very contradictory,” Hinch said. “It decompresses the game when you pitch a positional player. It doesn’t make you feel better. I hate it for the game. I hate it for the White Sox and their players. It’s ugly when that happens. Luckily everyone survived.”
Castro, starting the game at shortstop, earned a scoreless seventh place finish. He changed the pace of his delivery, stopped and started pitching fast. He got a double-play grounder from Andrew Vaughn and then beat Leury Garcia on three pitches — two 47-mile spinners and then an 80-mile fastball.
“We take the embarrassment and make fun,” Báez said. “Obviously, pitching from positional players is fun, but the result isn’t fun. So we take the good parts of the situations that we find ourselves in and we take the positives out of it.”
Things didn’t go so well for Clemens in the eighth. He gave up a run on three hits. Abreu doubled both Clemens and Barnhart. Moncada had five hits and five RBIs.
“Listen, if you’re not motivated to this day, even embarrassed if the game gets so far out of hand that we had to do what we did today, I don’t know,” Hinch said. “This is baseball at the highest level. We expect better.
“The boys are trying. We will not give up. We just have to encourage them to take a night off and move to a new team tomorrow.”
The temperature at the time of the game was 94 degrees, making it the hottest game at Comerica Park since the White Sox moved in on August 31, 2012. With possession timing heavily weighted in Chicago’s favor, he scored in five of the first six innings. the Tigers defenders bore the brunt of the heat.
“I think we just have to play better,” said Baez. “Play better baseball and I think we need to focus on the things that we can control. It’s just going badly for us and we’re obviously frustrated, but we can’t give up trying.
“We have to go out tomorrow and play a new series and a new game.”