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Last Night, Mason Englert Had One Of The Worst Relief Appearances In Tigers History

Yesterday was a very wonky day for my Tigers. They got off to an early lead against the San Diego Padres, only for the game to be halted due to a rain delay. A.J. Hinch controversially decided not to bring Matt Manning out for the third inning and instead went with Rule 5 rookie Mason Englert. Englert's stuff is not spectacular, though he's had a few serviceable moments, mainly in garbage time for the Tigers this season. What proceeded to happen next was one of the absolute worst beatdowns I've seen on a baseball field in a long time. A.J. made his rookie pitcher wear it. Englert gave up seven earned runs, becoming the first Tigers reliever to give up ten hits in an outing since 1996. 

Englert was embarrassed while sitting in the dugout after his disastrous outing. There's nothing I'm going to say that's going to change the way people feel. If this were one of the Tigers experienced starters like Eduardo Rodriguez or Michael Lorenzen getting rocked, I'd be more inclined to be critical, but this one falls on the manager. I understand that the rain delay makes things awkward. The simple solution would've just been telling Matt Manning to grow a set, get back out there, and pitch after a 90-minute delay. The Padres did the same thing with their starting pitcher, which worked fine. But if you go with Englert, at a certain point, you can't just let the guy bleed out. 

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Some guys have nights where their stuff just isn't working. But Englert's outing last night was a different kind of rough. Every pitch, and I mean EVERY SINGLE PITCH, was up in the zone. The only pitches that weren't hanging-breaking balls were fastballs down the middle. It was the closest I've ever seen to batting practice in Major League Baseball. I don't know how much it mattered in the grand scheme of things. The Padres were all over the Tigers last night, but sometimes there is almost a joyous element to watching a pitcher get absolutely destroyed. You can't look away from it the same way you can't look away in a car wreck, but this is one instance where I had to turn my head a few times. It was the baseball equivalent of watching somebody get thrown butt-naked into the jungle surrounded by a bunch of lions. You know it's not going to end well.

If any good comes out of a performance like that, it makes Scott Harris' potential decision to sell at the deadline much easier. Incredibly, they are still Tiger fans who have held onto the belief that this team can win the American League Central. I know the division is awful, but so is this team. They've given us some good moments, and ultimately, I still believe that the future is bright, but if you're looking for a reason why people like me have a hard time being hopeful about the 2023 campaign, look no further than Mason Englert's final line last night.