Whoa, daddy: Boyd wins after daughter's birth

Becoming a first-time father Thursday, Tigers lefty earns 3rd straight quality start

July 30th, 2017

DETROIT -- Matthew Boyd's off-day Thursday was interrupted by his wife. Her water broke. It was 3:50 in the morning. Their first child was arriving early.

"We were in the car by 5," Boyd said. "She had the baby at 6:05. She was a champ."

It was a nerve-wracking day for the Tigers left-hander, who spent the better part of the next two days at the hospital. And yet, it was a blessing. Their daughter, Meira, is happy and healthy, as is her mom, Ashley. The proud papa, meanwhile, was able to do all that and still make his scheduled start against the Astros on Saturday.

And after earning the 5-3 victory against a Houston lineup that has been a juggernaut on the road, Boyd probably won't ever forget this.

"The goal is to control what you can control, and for me that's executing pitches," he said. "Outside of that, can't control anything else. I can't control when my baby is going to come into the world."

With both of their parents in town, Ashley sent the lefty home to catch up on sleep Friday night ahead of his start. The only time he had left the hospital before that was to get in his day-before throwing work Friday afternoon at Comerica Park.

As long as she was in town, his mom was sent to the ballpark as well.

"That's the first time my mom has seen me start in the big leagues since my big league debut," Boyd said. "She always misses it."

His first inning looked a little like he was still waking up. Evan Gattis took advantage of a fastball over the plate and drove it deep to left field for a two-out, two-run homer. followed with a double to left-center, giving Houston a chance for a big inning.

Boyd ended the threat with a 94-mph fastball past , then settled in. He didn't just quiet the Astros' offense, aside from 's fourth-inning RBI triple, he racked up quick outs. He didn't reach a three-ball count, let alone allow a walk.

Boyd also took a comebacker off his leg, courtesy of Gattis, who earned a fortuitous single in the sixth inning. But after throwing a few warmup pitches in front of manager Brad Ausmus and trainers, Boyd stayed in and got Gonzalez to fly out before inducing Beltran to ground into a double play.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Boyd's fastball was harder than they expected, topping out at just under 96 mph, according to Statcast™. But the difference was the curveball, a pitch he didn't throw much early but dropped into the strike zone to get ahead as the Astros continued to hack.

Boyd threw 15 curveballs, five for called strikes, four for swing-and-misses, and only one put in play.

"It's kind of an equalizer," catcher Alex Avila said. "When Matt's locating, he's able to use pitches like that."

That was more like the Boyd that Ausmus remembers rolling through Spring Training, winning a rotation spot.

"He mixed his pitches very well, I thought," Ausmus said. "He used his curveball to get ahead in the count a number of times, and still had the ability to finish guys off with fastballs up in the zone."

Boyd needed just 80 pitches to deliver seven innings of three-run ball. Detroit's seventh-inning rally gave him a lead to protect in the eighth. Ausmus let him face Reddick, Houston's hero from Friday with a go-ahead homer, to lead off the frame -- and he popped out to , who made an impressive catch leaning into the stands -- before going to against .

It's the third quality start and third victory Boyd has delivered in three outings since his return to the Tigers' rotation after the All-Star break. With starting over in his rehab from a groin strain, Boyd has stabilized the Tigers' rotation and secured a spot in it for the foreseeable future.

But as he left the clubhouse Saturday, he was just thinking about fatherhood.

"Last night, she let me sleep," he said of his wife. "So tonight I'll hopefully do a little more."