Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening, we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Or, you know, at least get them back on schedule. Now, onto the recap!
Casey Mize gave up just one run on three hits in seven strong innings, and the simulated Detroit Tigers kept on rolling with a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday evening. The win was Detroit’s third in a row, and sixth in their last seven games.
Mize was the story in this one from the jump. He gave up a double to former Tigers prospect Willy Adames in the top of the first, but was able to calmly retire the side, and notched his first career strikeout to end the frame. Tampa then threatened with two runners on in the second — both of whom moved into scoring position after a wild pitch — but again the prized righthander was able to work his way out of trouble.
The lone blemish against Mize came in the top of the fourth, when Ji-Man Choi led off the inning with a solo home run that just barely cleared the wall in left-center. That was the final hit Mize would allow, however. He set down the final 12 batters he faced, many on weak fly balls or grounders, and left the game after an efficient seven innings of work.
The Tigers offense did their part, ensuring that Mize worked most of the game with the lead. They jumped on Rays starter Yonny Chirinos early, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Cameron Maybin got things started with a one-out single, and Miguel Cabrera moved Maybin to third on a single to the wall in right field. C.J. Cron delivered the big blow with a double to center that scored both runners, giving Detroit a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers struck for another run in the fourth, answering Choi’s homer. Christin Stewart hit a single with one out, one of three hits for him on the game. Jeimer Candelario moved Stewart into scoring position with a two-out single, and Victor Reyes hit an RBI double to right, extending Detroit’s lead to 3-1. Both Candelario and Reyes were stranded on base to end the inning, however, leaving the Tigers with a slim lead for most of the middle innings.
Mize and the bullpen were up to the task, though. After Buck Farmer calmly retired the side in order in the top of the eighth, the Tigers struck for two more runs in the bottom half. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, and Candelario plated one run with a sacrifice fly to right. Maybin delivered another run with a two-run RBI single through the infield, extending his club’s lead to 5-1. But while the Rays tried to make things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, Jose Cisnero closed the door, ending the game with a smooth 3-6-1 double play.
As you might have expected from the everything else involved in this article, the simulated Tigers purchased the contract of Casey Mize from Triple-A Toledo prior to Friday’s game. Joining him on the ride up I-75 was infielder Harold Castro. Isaac Paredes and Anthony Castro were both optioned to Toledo to make room on the 26-man roster.
Additionally, the Tigers moved lefthander Tarik Skubal from Double-A Erie up to Triple-A to take Mize’s place on Toledo’s roster. Skubal then sustained a minor injury and left his start in the first inning. He is day-to-day.