The Detroit Tigers will finish the 2019 season with the worst record in baseball.
For that, they will receive the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.
In Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss to the Twins, the Tigers clinched both of those fates.
The Tigers’ selection in next June’s draft will be their second No. 1 overall pick in the past three seasons. In 2018, they selected right-hander Casey Mize, after landing the pick with a loss in their final game of the 2017 season, which also came against the Twins.
More: Detroit Tigers look ahead to 2020 MLB draft: These 5 players should be on radar
Wednesday’s loss was similar to the Tigers’ loss on Tuesday night: Keyed by strong pitching, they took a one-run lead into the seventh inning, only to watch it go up in smoke.
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A pair of two-run home runs did the damage: First, Luis Arraez hit one off Drew VerHagen in the top of the seventh inning; then, Eddie Rosario hit one off John Schreiber in the eighth.
The Tigers scratched a run across in the first inning off of righty Randy Dobnak, who was signed out of Utica’s United Shores Professional Baseball League in 2017. Dobnak played for the Utica Unicorns.
He threw six innings, allowing one run on one hit — a Jeimer Candelario double in the first inning — and struck out six batters.
The Tigers have one game remaining at Comerica Park, against the Twins on Thursday afternoon.
Norris’ night … and season
Minutes after Norris exited the game, he received a handshake and two pats on the chest from manager Ron Gardenhire. Then, he shook head athletic trainer Doug Teter’s hand. For Norris, it was his best major league season: With three scoreless innings on Wednesday night, the lefty finished his season with a 4.49 ERA and 1.330 WHIP in 144 ⅓ innings. Norris has pitched particularly well since August, posting an 2.25 ERA as the Tigers tapered down his usage with abbreviated outings. Most importantly, Norris, 26, stayed healthy. He will compete for a starting rotation spot next spring.
Early offense, again:
After a Twins error that put Miguel Cabrera on first, Candelario continued his hot hitting with an RBI double to right-center field. On the play, Cabrera scored all the way from first. According to research by MLB.com’s Jason Beck, it marked the first time Cabrera scored from first since 2016. Dobnak shut the Tigers down afterwards, allowing no hits the rest of the way.
3. Local connection
Dobnak is creating something of a name for himself. Made famous for his unlikely path to the major leagues, including a stint as an an Uber driver, he is letting his performance speak for him. With another strong performance, Dobnak lowered his ERA to 1.59. His performance carried some personal motivation: With the win, the Twins’ magic number to clinch the AL Central fell to one (with second-place Cleveland taking on the White Sox late on Wednesday night). If Dobnak wants to be part of the celebration, it’ll need to happen soon: he’s getting married this weekend.
Contact Anthony Fenech at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.
Published at Thu, 26 Sep 2019 01:36:59 +0000