Matthew Robert Boyd
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 215 lb.
- School Oregon State University
- High School Mercer Island High School, Eastside Catholic High School
- Debut June 27, 2015
Matthew Boyd, also known as Matt Boyd, made his major league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays facing the Texas Rangers on June 27, 2015, barely two years after having been a 6th round draft choice out of Oregon State University in the 2013 amateur draft; the scout was Ryan Fox. In his debut, he was charged with a 4-0 loss, giving up 4 runs in 6 2/3 innings, three of them coming on solo home runs by Mitch Moreland, Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor. On the positive side, he struck out 7 and walked none. His second start on July 2nd was absolutely disastrous, as he gave up 7 runs without recording an out in a game against the Boston Red Sox; the start included surrendering back-to-back homers to David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez. He was sent back to the minors after that performance. He was 9-2, 1.68 in 18 starts between the AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats and AAA Buffalo Bisons when, on July 30th, Toronto sent Boyd, Daniel Norris and Jairo Labourt to the Detroit Tigers for David Price.
Matt earned his first career win in his first start for the Tigers, facing the Kansas City Royals on August 5, 2015. He allowed only a run over 7 innings for a 2-1 victory to out-pitch Johnny Cueto. He was again matched up against Cueto in his next start on August 10th, but this time he gave up 3 first inning runs and ended up on the wrong end of a 4-0 loss. In all, he made 11 appearances for the Tigers, including 10 starts, with a record of 1-4, 6.57, for a combined mark of 1-6, 7.53. He gave up 71 hits in 51 1/3 innings while walking 20 and striking out 43. Matt started 2016 in the minors, then was called up to make a one-off appearance on April 24th, when he pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief in a 6-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians. He was back in Detroit at the end of May, this time as a starter, but was unable to record a win in five outings. Worse, over his final two starts, he gave up 13 runs on 15 hits in 8 innings and was sent back to the Toledo Mud Hens following a 16-5 loss to the Royals on June 18th. He finished the year 6-5, 4.23 in 20 games (18 starts), while going 2-5, 2.25 in Toledo.
He again shuttled between Detroit and Toledo in 2017, going 3-3, 2.82 in 8 starts in AAA, but continuing to struggle periodically in the majors until finding a groove in late August after revamping his mechanics. On September 17th, Boyd came within one out of a no-hitter in a start against the Chicago White Sox. Tim Anderson broke up the bid with two outs in the 9th, but Matt retired the next batter to complete a 12-0 one-hit shutout for the first complete game and shutout of his career. He went 6-11, 5.27 in 26 games in what was largely a disappointing season. In 2018, he became one of the Tigers' best pitchers, although the team's poor record obscured that to a large extent. In 31 games, he went 9-13, 4.39, pitching 170 1/3 innings. He set personal bests in wins, games, innings and strikeouts (159).
After the 2018 season, Boyd and his wife, Ashley, went on a mission to Uganda to try to help child slavery. The couple adopted some 36 girls and provided them with basic necessities while setting up a complex, Kingdom Home, to keep children from falling into the traps of forced labor or, worse, sexual slavery and trafficking. The shelter was originally started by a local woman who rescued the girls from the sex trade, but she was out of funds after the death of her husband, and the project was likely to fail had the Boyds not stepped in. She had reached out for help through a Christian organization for which Ashley had been active in college. They organized a number of high profile fundraising events to support the budding foundation.
Back home, Matt had a solid 2019 for another miserable Tigers squad, finishing 9-12, 4.56 with 238 strikeouts in 185 1/3 innings. He became the first Tigers pitcher since at least 1908 to record back-to-back double-digit strikeout games to start a season, striking out 10 Blue Jays on March 29 followed by 13 New York Yankees on April 3, setting a new record for a visiting pitcher at new Yankee Stadium in the latter game. Additionally, he was the first Tigers left-hander to record 200 strikeouts in a season since Mickey Lolich in 1974. On the flip side, his 39 home runs allowed paced the AL, with a league worst 1.89 home runs per 9 innings ratio.
Boyd is a distant relative of two people on opposite ends of the American spectrum: Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller and former First Lady Dolley Madison.
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (2019)
- Jeff Seidel: "Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd on a mission to end sex slavery", Detroit Free Press, March 9, 2019.