By Will Burchfield
Matt Boyd stood steadfastly in front of his locker and spoke with resolve.
He had just learned the Detroit Tigers are sending him down to Triple-A Toledo.
“I have no one to blame but myself. I had four starts where I’ve needed to right it,” said Boyd, his voice soft but steady. “I know what I need to do, so I’m gonna go do it and make all the adjustments that I need to and want to so I can come back and help this team win.”
The 26-year-old southpaw is 2-5 with a 5.69 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP in 2016. A season that began well has recently fallen off the rails.
“I haven’t been right the last few starts. I’m gonna get back to doing what I did earlier this year, doing what I did in the spring,” said Boyd.
He was terrific in April and the early part of May, posting a 2.92 ERA and holding hitters to a .241 average from April 11 to May 10. But beginning with his start versus Baltimore on May 16, Boyd has yielded a 10.13 ERA and a .444 batting average against.
The Tigers are hoping a trip to Toledo can help him turn things around.
“They want me to get that killer instinct back in my eye, looks like the last four starts it hasn’t been there,” he said. “They still believe in me and they want me to go down there and go do it, which I’m gonna.”
Asked what he needs to work on specifically, Boyd said, “Just gotta get back to being on the attack, being the aggressor, pitching off my fastball. Get my slider right, that pitch hasn’t been very good lately. Just most importantly being on the attack.”
Regarding the fastball, Boyd needs to regain his command. Regarding the slider, he needs to increase its depth.
He dismissed the idea that his lack of aggressiveness has been confidence related.
“It’s just a mentality more than anything,” he said.
It’s unclear at this point how long Boyd will remain in Triple-A.
“They told me it’s up to me,” he said. “I’m gonna get right as soon as I can.”
He’s fully confident in his ability to do so.
“It’s not like my fastball got stolen from me or my slider got taken out of my back pocket. It’s all inside of me,” he said.
This is Boyd’s first demotion to Toledo since August of last season. His muted voice made it clear he took the news hard. But his steely eyes proved he intends to be back.
“I’ve put myself in this hole, I have no one to blame but myself. Our team is turning it around right now, and I definitely want to be a part of that again so I’m gonna go get right and get back to it,” he said.
The Tigers called up left-handed pitcher Daniel Stumpf to take Boyd’s place on the roster.