Beau Brieske gave the Tigers every chance to win in the Bronx on Saturday, but another abysmal offensive performance let him down as the Yankees won Game 2 of the series 3-0.
As we’ve seen in his seven major league starts before Saturday’s outing in New York, Beau Brieske has an uncanny predilection for giving up a home run to the first batter he faces, often on the first pitch. Hard to explain that one, but it happened again in this one. The very first pitch he threw was clubbed for a solo shot to right center field by Aaron Judge. This time it was a fastball rather than the slider.
After an auspicious start, it was understandable that fear of another outright bombardment crept into fans’ minds. However, Brieske showed exceptional composure and improvements in his slider all at once, and settled in from there to put on a really good game.
After the judge’s home run, Josh Donaldson retired and Anthony Rizzo lined up Derek Hill in center field. Giancarlo Stanton then hit a big line home run to center field. Hill ran back and leaped over the wall, momentarily pulling the player in his glove before slamming into the wall, who then dislodged the ball into the field of play for a double. Gleyber Torres flew out to right field to end the inning.
Starting with Torres, Brieske would go on to retire nine straight. He took out Joey Gallo in the second, sniffed Donaldson on a nasty 96mph warmup to end the third inning, then hit Stanton on a four-seam puff with one out in the fourth. Brieske then walked Torres, but again got Gallo back with a fastball into the area. Same story in the fifth as the Tigers rookie starter hit Isaiah Kiner-Falefa to start the inning and quickly pulled out Kyle Higashioka and Aaron Hicks. Brieske’s shot count was still good and he had given his club every chance to get into the game.
They did not enter the game.
A first single from Miguel Cabrera in the second inning would be the only hit the Tigers would record that day. Luis Severino is a great starting pitcher, but the Tigers turned him into Gerrit Cole 2.0 in this one as the big right-hander racked up 10 strikeouts for a single and a walk allowed. Javier Báez continued to look like a lemon full of a buy, hitting the swing in all three putrid bats of the day.
Meanwhile, seeing that Brieske was not going to get any help at all, the Yankees finally managed to join him again in the sixth as Anthony Rizzo ambushed a first high slider for a solo shot. Brieske bounced back, however, freezing Stanton with a pair of sliders, including a rather generous call after Stanton complained about a good edge call for the second strike, to end his outing on a high.
As we all know, pitching isn’t the Tigers’ problem. Brieske finished with 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, 7 SO, throwing 52 or 83 pitches for strikes. Very good day for Beau Brieske, who racked up 11 puffs against the Bronx Bombers’ latest incarnation. Another terrible day for batters.
Jason Foley pitched a nice seventh inning with one strikeout, while Joe Jiménez was a little too cautious about the Yankees lineup, walking two around an Aaron Hicks single. A Donaldson sacrifice fly gave the Yankees their third run, but Andrew Chafin came on to stop the bleeding and took the Tigers out of the inning without another run going through home plate.
The offense died down again in the top of the ninth against Clay Holmes, and the Tigers suffered their second straight loss.
If there’s one bright spot in this one, it’s definitely Brieske’s performance. His fastball control was precise, his bike felt strong, and more importantly, the adjustments to his slider he and Chris Fetter are working on seem to be paying off.
The Tigers will look to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon as Rony Garcia (0-1, 4.70 ERA) takes on southpaw Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.04 ERA) at 11:35 a.m. EDT. The game will only air on the Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, while the march of irritating cable packages requires 10 different streaming apps to watch it all. Hooray.