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May 2, 2022 4:43 pm

Fielding woes of chief concern when Pirates, Tigers meet

A lack of timely hits and some sloppy fielding have cost the Detroit Tigers of late.

The Tigers have lost seven of their last eight games as they begin a two-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Detroit snapped a six-game skid with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. The Tigers then reverted to some nasty habits Sunday, leaving nine runners on base and committing two costly errors in a 6-3 loss.

“We didn’t play well enough to win. … Our reality is we make a critical mistake or two every game and it’s costing us right now,” manager AJ Hinch said.

The Tigers scored 13 runs in the first game of a doubleheader on April 23. In the eight games since, they have only pushed across 18 total runs.

Jeimer Candelario and Miguel Cabrera hit their first home runs of the season on Sunday but Candelario also committed a costly throwing error from third base, which helped the Dodgers score three second-inning runs.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball,” Candelario said. “We’ve got to play good defense then everything will go from there. We’re going to hit. We know we’re going to hit. But we’ve got to take care of the ball, like AJ says. We’ve got to take care of the ball all the time.”

There’s concern regarding Tigers right fielder Robbie Grossman, who was hit on the hand by a Walker Buehler fastball Sunday. X-rays were negative but it “was pretty black and blue,” according to Hinch, so Grossman could miss some games.

Michael Pineda (1-1, 3.60 ERA) will start the series opener. Pineda pitched five scoreless innings in his season debut April 21, then allowed four runs, including three homers, in five innings at Minnesota on Wednesday. He’s 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.

He will be opposed by Bryse Wilson (0-0, 4.70 ERA). Wilson held Milwaukee to one hit in four scoreless innings while striking out four in a four-inning relief stint on Wednesday.

“I think it’s a situation for me that, coming out of the bullpen, I wasn’t able to think about stuff as much and think about my gameplan going in as much other than the fact that I wanted to attack,” Wilson said. “For me, going forward as a starter, if that’s what it’s going to be, I can take that mindset into that as well.”

He had a no-decision, giving up three runs in six innings, in his lone career start against Detroit in 2021.

Pittsburgh is also trying to shake loose from a rough patch. It has lost five of its last six games, including a 5-2 decision to San Diego on Sunday. The Detroit series kicks off a six-game road trip.

The Pirates have also had their share of fielding miscues. They have committed 17 errors in 22 games, including three on Sunday.

“I like to talk about how defense is something you can bring every day,” said Pirates outfielder Jake Marisnick, who has made multiple diving catches in recent days. “It doesn’t go away. You can go out there and it’s something you pride yourself in. It’s a way to change the ball game and help your team win every night.”

–Field Level Media

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