Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Boyd simplifies delivery for stretch run

MLB.com @beckjason

CHICAGO -- Brad Ausmus laid down the challenge with Matthew Boyd earlier in the week. Either he had to make some changes, or the Tigers would make a move. The results were the same for Boyd in the Tigers' 7-1 loss to the White Sox on Sunday, but the delivery was different.

"They're more than tweaks; they're changes," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Usually these types of changes you'd normally do during an offseason and Spring Training, but I think everyone felt like there's no reason to wait."

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Brad Ausmus laid down the challenge with Matthew Boyd earlier in the week. Either he had to make some changes, or the Tigers would make a move. The results were the same for Boyd in the Tigers' 7-1 loss to the White Sox on Sunday, but the delivery was different.

"They're more than tweaks; they're changes," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Usually these types of changes you'd normally do during an offseason and Spring Training, but I think everyone felt like there's no reason to wait."

View Full Game Coverage

After seven runs over 2 1/3 innings in his last start Tuesday against the Yankees, and four consecutive starts that didn't last six innings, they really couldn't.

"Pressure brings out the best in you," Boyd said. "I went out this week and made the adjustments that I wanted to make."

It was a simplified delivery, taking out unnecessary motion, getting Boyd ready to throw earlier in his windup, making his motion more direct to the plate. The simpler the delivery, the thought goes, the easier it is to repeat, and the better chance Boyd has of finding consistency, especially as he tries to pitch down in the strike zone.

It didn't prevent the big inning -- or the big home run -- from hurting Boyd again. But as far as the Tigers are concerned, it was a step forward.

Video: DET@CWS: Davidson mashes a three-run big fly

"Even though he had the five-run third and he lost the game, I thought it was a step forward," Ausmus said, "especially considering he made these tweaks with his mechanics. It was better, and more importantly, I think it bodes well."

The big inning has a history with Boyd, often the third. He has given up 69 earned runs this season, 31 of them in the third inning, which is more than the first, third and fourth innings combined. Opponents are batting .399 against him the second time through the lineup.

After Boyd retired Chicago's first six batters in order through the first two innings, the big third came up again. But aside from Matt Davidson's three-run home run to break the game open, the damage off Boyd was on the ground.

Yolmer Sanchez hit a leadoff ground ball through the left side. Tim Anderson poked a hard-hit grounder just inside the third-base line for an RBI double. Tyler Saladino drove him in with a grounder through the middle. Avisail Garcia brought Davidson to the plate with a two-out grounder through the right side. Boyd gave up more hits on the ground than he recorded ground-ball outs.

Davidson fouled off Boyd's first two pitches, both low in the strike zone, for an 0-2 count. Boyd tried to induce him to chase high fastballs to no avail, then missed with a slider off the plate to run the count full. It was the type of sequence the Tigers want to see from him.

"He has the ability to pitch up," Ausmus said. "But when you go up too much, big-league hitters are going to get a hold of some, as did Davidson. He's got to go down, down, down, then up, surprise up.

"Sometimes with the delivery, the arm drags and he has trouble getting the ball down in the zone. But if he can keep moving forward with this delivery and he can pitch down and rush hitters up, I think he'll do well.

That was essentially the game, but not the end of Boyd's outing. He retired 10 of his final 12 hitters from there and ended up with seven strikeouts on the afternoon, his highest total in five weeks.

As the Tigers finish out the schedule, Boyd will keep getting turns to work on his delivery. It may not improve much down the stretch, but it gives him something for 2018.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Matthew Boyd