Tigers come up short in Washington after Wentz's short start

May 21st, 2023

WASHINGTON -- For a second consecutive start, was unable to finish three innings and the Tigers wasted multiple scoring chances in a 6-4 loss to the last-place Nationals on Sunday afternoon.

Wentz had his worst outing of the season -- allowing six runs on 10 hits in two-plus innings -- and the offense was held in check as Detroit fell to 10-14 on the road, wasting a chance to win a series against a sub-.500 club in a stretch where the Tigers face the Royals and White Sox in 10 of their next 13 games.

"I think we could have somehow stopped the bleeding a little bit with their 18 hits,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We made a couple of errors. We didn't do enough with our at-bats with guys in scoring position and they did. We tried to chip away. We didn't chip away enough."

Detroit left 11 men on base and was 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position. The Tigers have mustered only 14 runs in their seven losses in May, and are ranked 30th in the Majors in runs scored.

The Nationals raced out to a 6-1 lead after three innings, scoring six times on 10 hits. Washington jumped on Wentz’s first pitch three times for a base hit, including a Riley Adams homer. 

"Obviously, I need to throw better,” Wentz said. “The last two have both been pretty poor, and I think you just keep one foot in front of the other and try to get better.”

Wentz never got on track as the Nats started the game with four consecutive singles. He faced 16 batters before being pulled in the third inning for the second start in a row, allowing a season-high 10 hits. 

"They ambushed Joey a little bit and he just couldn't get the ball off the barrel enough,” Hinch said. “They did a good job. They weren't trying to do too much.”

On May 14, the southpaw gave up three runs on six hits over 2 2/3 innings against Seattle. It’s been a troubling span for Wentz, having surrendered 23 runs in his past six outings.

“Obviously, a couple of early exits is concerning, because it makes you empty your tank a little bit in the 'pen and that impacts the next series as well,” Hinch said. “We believe in Joey. Joey is a really good pitcher. He's got good stuff. Today didn't go his way, but we need Joey."

Nationals starter Josiah Gray surrendered a season-high six walks, opening the door for a quick answer from the Tigers' offense. 

homered in the third, but netted only one run and one RBI, despite being walked three times and reaching base four times. Detroit left six men on base through four innings.

"We just kept our composure, kept fighting [to] try to see if we could chip away runs each and every inning,” Baddoo said. “Unfortunately, we came up short.”

Wentz and four relievers allowed a season-high 18 hits. The Tigers' bullpen did well enough to give the team a shot, throwing six scoreless innings. Mason Englert bounced back from a rough outing Friday to fire 2 2/3 scoreless frames and Tyler Alexander recorded four outs.   

"Our 'pen gave us a chance as we started to chip away,” Hinch said. “Alexander threw the ball well. Getting Englert in the game with a little more decompress, a little more [chance to] execute your pitches and get through the lineup once. I thought he did a good job adjusting compared to the other night."