By: Will Burchfield
Early Thursday morning, just a few minutes before 3:00, Matthew Boyd drove his wife Ashley to the hospital. She would soon give birth to their first child, a healthy girl named Meira.
Early Saturday evening, just a few minutes after 6:00, Boyd took the mound at Comerica Park. He would soon stifle the A.L.-leading Astros in a 5-3 Tigers’ win.
Not a bad few days for the 26-year-old.
“It’s a blessing, it’s such a blessing,” Boyd said with a wide smile and much more than a twinkle in his eye. “Meira couldn’t be more perfect. We’re just so grateful. Ashley’s healthy, the baby’s healthy — she just came a little early, which was a surprise, but everything’s great. She’s just a blessing. We’re so fortunate.”
Boyd said he barely slept on Thursday night, Meria’s first night at home. He was able to catch a few more Z’s on Friday night — rather, Meira let him — and on Saturday afternoon he strolled into the Tigers’ clubhouse ready to do his job.
“When you cross that threshold into the locker room, you collect yourself and it just becomes business. You come out here and the goal is to control what you can control, and for me that’s executing pitches,” said Boyd. “Fortunately, I was able to do that tonight.”
In his third start since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo earlier this month, Boyd looked like the pitcher who shined in spring training and pitched to a 3.86 ERA in April. He held the Astros to three runs on eights while striking out five and walking none in 7 1/3 innings.
Since making his return to the Tigers’ rotation, Boyd has three wins in three starts and hasn’t yielded more than three runs in any of them.
Has he recaptured that feeling from March and April?
“That’s all in the past. I can’t look to say, I feel like I did (then). It’s all about just living in the moment. This outing was good, but you show up tomorrow and you prepare for the next day. That’s the mentality you have to have, just living in the moment,” said Boyd.
What a moment it was. On top of taking the mound for the first time as a father, Boyd was pitching in front of his mother for the first time since his big-league debut. That was in June 2015, and their schedules just haven’t lined up in the interim.
But Meira brought Boyd’s mom to town.
Asked how he and Ashley chose the name for their first child, Boyd explained that, in Hebrew scripture, Meira means, “One who brings light, one who brings joy.”