The Tigers had to do an audible on Friday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Right-hander Julio Teheran was scratched from his scheduled start against the Indians after feeling tightness in his right triceps during his pregame throwing progression.
It was one heck of a way to start a 10-city trip for Detroit. During the end of his warmup which occurred in the bullpen in the top of the first inning, Teheran’s arm wasn’t feeling right. The relievers were walking towards the bullpen when they received word that Teheran wasn’t ready to go.
Holland was then told to warm up. He didn’t have much time.
“I’ve kind of been in this situation before,” Holland said. “I knew what I had to be ready for. It just sucks. You don’t want to see anything like that happen to a teammate.”
Holland was not up to the task as he allowed three runs in the first inning. Franmil Reyes highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer -- the first of his two jacks in the game. Holland left the game in the bottom of the third inning even though he was willing to save the bullpen by going further into the game.
“Having a last second assignment coming in -- getting us into the third inning was key for us,” manager A.J. Hinch said.
It’s not known if Teheran will make his next start. If he is not ready, right-hander Michael Fulmer will take over. Fulmer was dealing on Friday night. He threw 68 pitches, pitched four innings and struck out five batters. His only blemish was allowing a monster home run to Reyes in the sixth inning.
Fulmer, who recovered from Tommy John surgery in 2019, is close to being back to the pitcher who won American League Rookie of the Year Award honors in 2016. He is able to just throw pitches in any count. The days of aiming the ball appear to be over.
“Fulmer is really letting it go,” Hinch said. “He is being very aggressive, using his pitches very well. I think everything plays off aggressiveness with him. He is not a touch-feel pitcher. He has the ability to feel his way through the strike zone with breaking balls, changeup and his cutter and stuff. But for the most part, the aggressiveness really does feed off the quality of his pitches.”
Fulmer said he felt tired after he was done for the night, but he was pleased with what he accomplished. Fulmer said if Tehran is not ready to make his next start, he will be ready to go.
“Obviously, it’s not my call. I’ll do whatever A.J. needs,” Fulmer said. “... I feel like I’m good. I feel I’ve learned a lot of stuff. If I have to take that position, [that’s fine]. If not, then I’ll be ready to go in a couple of days.”
Unfortunately, Detroit’s offense couldn’t kick it in gear. The Tigers were stymied against Indians right-hander Zach Plesac, who pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed three hits with six strikeouts. They never had a runner in scoring position during those seven innings.
“We hit a couple of balls pretty hard early -- right to the warning track,” Hinch said. “We put a little pressure on him. But he settled in, we didn’t put any pressure on him at all. He was throwing a lot of secondary pitches. He was landing his slider whenever he wanted.”
It wasn’t until after Plesac left the game when Wilson Ramos hit a solo homer off reliever Bryan Shaw in the eighth inning.