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May 14, 2024 3:02 am

Spencer Torkelson’s bat coming to life as Tigers, Marlins collide

spencer torkelson

Spencer Torkelson is finally hitting home runs again, a welcome sight for the Detroit Tigers.

Torkelson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft, blasted 31 homers last year, his second season in the majors. He hadn’t gone deep this season until he smacked a ninth-inning, two-run shot in a lopsided loss to the Houston Astros on Sunday.

His second homer of the year, a majestic, 446-foot blast, was more meaningful: a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning to lift Detroit to a 6-5 victory over the visiting Miami Marlins on Monday. Torkelson will attempt to continue providing fans with souvenirs when the teams meet on Tuesday to continue a three-game series.

Looking to take the series opener on Monday, the Tigers blew a 3-0 lead, then had to fight back from a 5-3 deficit to down Miami.

“That felt really good,” Torkelson said during a postgame television interview. “Guys in front of me put together really good at-bats and I was trying to do the same.”

Detroit manager A.J. Hinch is hoping Torkelson’s home run total continues to climb.

“This was a big one. I’m really happy for him,” Hinch said. “You could see the emotion when he hit it. It’s been a long stretch for him, and to come up big in a big moment with a big swing — literally a game-changer.”

Left-hander Ryan Weathers (2-4, 4.54 ERA) will be tasked with trying to slow Torkelson, as he is set to make his ninth start of the season.

Weathers has come away with losses in back-to-back outings. He gave up three runs and five hits in six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday after logging those same numbers against the Oakland Athletics five days earlier.

The Marlins dropped both games 3-1.

“It’s tough to win with one run. Ryan did really well,” Miami manager Skip Schumaker said after Weathers’ most recent start. “I’ll take that version of Ryan Weathers any day of the week.”

The next step for Weathers is to go deeper in games. He has never surpassed the six-inning mark in 54 career appearances (39 starts).

“Now that I’m consistently getting into the sixth, I kind of want a taste for the seventh inning,” said Weathers, who has never faced the Tigers.

Pitching opposite of Weathers will be right-hander Reese Olson, who has been victimized by poor run support. Olson (0-4, 2.52 ERA) has given up five earned runs over his past five starts but is still seeking his first victory of the season. Detroit has scored a total of eight runs in those games.

In his latest outing, Olson limited the Cleveland Guardians to two runs (one earned) and one hit in six innings on Wednesday. The two runs came in the second inning, and Olson then settled in to record 14 consecutive outs.

“To settle down and get through my outing without giving up any more damage, that’s something I probably wouldn’t be able to do at this point last year at Triple-A,” Olson said. “I’m happy with how far I’ve come in that sense.”

In one previous start against the Marlins, Olson was tagged for four runs on eight hits in six innings on July 28, 2023. He escaped with a no-decision.

–Field Level Media

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