The Detroit Tigers’ No. 1 prospect, starting pitcher Casey Mize, made his Double-A debut on Monday night, and it was a doozy. Requiring just 98 pitches, 70 of which were strikes, Mize dominated the Altoona Curve, going nine innings for a no-hitter. That, is what you call a Maddux, kids.
If Casey Mize had any nerves in this one, they cleared out early on. He plunked the first batter he faced, then proceeded to set down the next 20 hitters in order before issuing a walk on a close 3-2 pitch with two outs in the seventh inning. Mize settled right back in, and before long the only question was whether he’d get the opportunity to wrap this one up on his own.
Just last week, Tigers’ pitching prospect Alex Faedo went seven no-hit innings, with Drew Carlton wrapping up the final two frames to no-hit the Bowie Baysox. Mize required no help. He struck out seven along the way, showcasing the kind of command of a deep pitch mix you rarely see at this level of pro ball. Mize touched 97 with the fastball, using liberal doses of his slider, cutter, and splitter to baffle Curve hitters.
Mize’s defense did help him out on numerous occasions. There was a decent amount of hard contact, with Derek Hill and Jose Azocar making nice plays on Mize’s behalf in center field and right field respectively. Still, a fairly weak Curve lineup was off balance and taking funky swings most of the evening.
Mize wrapped up the eighth inning at 90 pitches, and one had to wonder if SeaWolves’ manager Mike Rabelo would let him finish it out. Pitch count or no, it was a stress-free outing, and the only pressure came in that final frame as Mize looked to close out the Curve. He did so on a quick pair of weak ground balls, and a pop-up squeezed by second baseman Sergio Alcantara for the final out.