Sydney McKinney-Williams, Staff Writer
Joey Wentz pitching for the Detroit Tigers in his MLB debut. Photo// Paul Sancya/AP
Joey Wentz did not have his best stuff on Wednesday night during his MLB debut. The Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics were heading into game four of a five-game series and, with the current list of Tigers injured pitchers, manager A.J. Hinch needed to make a move.
Wentz, currently ranked as Detroit’s fourth best pitching prospect, was called up from Triple-A Toledo to the major league roster to spot-start for the injury-riddled team. This call-up followed a pattern of similar moves as the Tigers previously called up young RHPs Beau Brieske and Alex Faedo to fill out the rest of the rotation.
Wentz only lasted 2⅔ innings, giving up six runs off seven hits. He also had two walks and one strikeout. He needed 30 pitches to get out of the first inning.
The Tigers rookie seemed to lack a real command of the mound, and A’s hitters consistently extended their at-bats with multiple fouled pitches. Wentz did not look comfortable or settled after the lengthy first inning. He was pulled from the game for reliever Wily Peralta with one out left in the third inning. Wentz was later charged with the loss.
Wentz displayed a full arsenal of pitches: fastball, changeup, curveball, and even a cutter. If tasked with another start in the future, the young prospect will need to sharpen his command to get outs quick and efficiently.
The offense was not faring much better as they got shut out for no runs. An offense that, before Tuesday, had not scored a run in their last 28 innings, could not get a run on the board once again. The Tigers could only muster seven hits while striking out seven times.
Wentz was sent back down to Toledo after the game. Wentz said he was never nervous on the mound, but also never got comfortable pitching.
In a post-game interview Wentz says, “It’s cool to throw in a major league game, but I’m not ignorant to the fact that I didn’t give us a chance to win today.”
The Tigers are off to a very tough start to their season with this loss bringing their record to 9-22.
Manager A.J.Hinch said, “It feels like it’s never going to end because of how long this has lasted. These guys have a track record. It’s the same questions every night, the same curiosities. We have not found solutions. Rather than talk about problems, we’ve got to try to find some solutions.”
It will be interesting to see what these solutions will look like for the Tigers and how well they will help change the current direction of the team.