Detroit — The Tigers clubhouse remained closed for at least 30 minutes after Wednesday’s game.
After being swept home by a depleted White Sox team, losing the final in humiliating fashion 13-0, having to use three position players to cover the last three innings on the mound, it was time to clear the air .
“Nobody likes being given their a– every night,” said receiver Eric Haase, who confirmed the team held a players-only meeting. “We think we’re a better team than this, but for some reason we’re not clicking. We’re kind of looking to get back into that rhythm.”
Haase said the players talked about a wide range of issues with the general consensus: “We need to play better.”
“It’s obviously frustrating,” Haase said. “The way we played, nobody likes it. It’s very old. We want to change that. But getting into the weeds with the negative things won’t be a good path for the future. So hopefully that we’ve aired it and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
BOX SCORE: White Sox 13, Tigers 0
Shortstop Javier Báez, who was given the day off Wednesday, didn’t want to call it a reunion and he didn’t want it to feel like there was some kind of dissension in the room. Just a bunch of players trying to figure out how to get back to playing winning baseball.
“We were just talking,” he said. “And the first thing I say is that we don’t need to be around each other. We are already around each other. We are having a ping pong tournament and everyone is there, encouraging each other. So it’s not about us not knowing each other or we don’t know how they’re doing or anything.
“But when it comes to baseball, everything has to click in the right direction.”
The Tigers were outscored 27-6 by the White Sox. They have been outscored 33-6 during this ongoing four-game losing streak. They were shut out for the ninth time this season, matching their tally from last season.
“We are responsible for the performance,” manager AJ Hinch said. “It’s unacceptable. We’re better than that. We haven’t lived up to the standards we expect. What’s the solution, it’s something we talk about all the time. As long as the message is consistent with what which we think is right.
“That’s where we are at the moment. We’re all responsible, the players, the coaches, the manager, the front office, everyone. Because it’s been below par.”
Tigers starter Alex Faedo hadn’t allowed more than two runs in his first seven starts this season. But he gave up a three-run homer to Yoan Moncada in the first inning and ended up giving up seven runs and nine hits and not getting out of the fourth inning.
That left the final six innings to an already overworked bullpen. That the day after the bullpen covered five innings Tuesday night, and five innings the day before and five innings the night before.
Relivers had pitched 27 innings in the last six games heading into Wednesday. That’s why Hinch did what he hates to do – he used not one but three position players to end the game.
“A pretty taxed bullpen, a really bad game and seven games until the next day off,” he said. “At this point we’re just trying to maintain our best chance of winning tomorrow.”
Harold Castro, Kody Clemens and Tucker Barnhart have eaten these past three innings — the first time in franchise history the Tigers have used three position players to pitch in a game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It’s very contradictory,” Hinch said. “It decompresses the game when you bring a position player in to throw. It doesn’t make you feel any better. I hate it for the game. I hate it for the White Sox and their players. It’s ugly when it happens. Luckily everyone got away with it.”
Castro, who started the game at shortstop, threw a scoreless seventh. He was changing the pace of his delivery, stopping and going, pitching fast. He got a double-play grounder from Andrew Vaughn, then knocked out Leury Garcia on three pitches – two 47mph spinners, then an 80mph fastball.
“We take the embarrassment and make it fun,” Báez said. “Obviously positioning the throwing players is fun, but scoring isn’t fun. So we take the good parts of the situations we find ourselves in and take the positive out of it.”
It didn’t go as well for Clemens in the eighth. He allowed a run on three hits. Abreu doubled Clemens and Barnhart. Moncada had five hits and five RBIs.
“Look, if you’re not motivated by today, even embarrassed when the game gets out of control to the point where we had to do what we did today, I don’t know,” Hinch said. “This is baseball at its best. We expect more.
“Guys are trying. We’re not giving up. We just have to encourage them to have a night off and join 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 arrived on August 31, 2012. With time of possession weighed heavily in favor of Chicago, scoring in five of the first six innings, the Tigers defenders bore the brunt of the heat.
“I think we just have to play better,” Baez said. “Playing better baseball and I think we need to focus on the things that we can control. It’s just that things are bad for us and we’re obviously frustrated, but we can’t give up on trying.
“We have to go tomorrow and play a new series and a new game.”