This is the last series between the Tigers and White Sox this year. Coming into this game, Chicago had gone 16-5 in its past 21 games, so it was going to be an uphill battle for Detroit against a hot division rival.
Lucas Giolito is in the midst of the best season of his career. It’s hard to believe he had a 6.13 ERA and 1.477 WHIP in 2018. Think about 2018... that’s not that long ago! I’m pretty sure the Dijon mustard in my fridge expired in 2018. (It’s still good, though. Expiry dates on mustard are a total sham.)
Mize, on the other hand, is in the midst of the first big-league season of his career. His first major-league start was against the White Sox on August 19, and was arguably his best before tonight (4 1/3 innings, seven strikeouts and no walks, but seven hits and three runs). Rick Anderson noted Mize had a couple of dynamite bullpen sessions since his last start, though.
The last time Giolito gave up more than walk in a game was August 15, and both Jorge Bonifacio and Austin Romine somehow worked him for walks in the first two innings. So, maybe they’d see the inconsistent Giolito rather than the one who no-hit the Pirates.
Mize started off with a 1-2-3 first inning, then allowed a walk to Edwin Encarnacion in the second before squeezing a double play out of old friend James McCann and striking out fellow rookie Luis Robert. Notably, his fastball speed increased a bit as the game went along, rising to the mid-90s in the third with a lot of movement.
Oh, that’s pretty, alright.
Tim Anderson took the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth right to the wall in centre, but Victor Reyes made the catch. It, and two ground ball outs, were the only hard-hit balls through the end of the fourth. At the fourth inning’s conclusion, Mize had thrown 47 pitches (29 strikes)... oh, and this:
Casey Mize has not allowed a hit through four innings. He's only thrown 47 pitches— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) September 12, 2020
Mize’s pitch order against McCann in the fifth, ending in a swinging strikeout in the dirt, went thusly: slider, sinker, four-seamer, knuckle-curve, sinker, knuckle-curve for strike three in the dirt. That’s impressive for anyone, doubly so for a youngster like Mize.
Giolito, meanwhile, was no slouch himself: through five innings he’d given up two singles, two walks and no runs, and had struck out six. He started to lose his control in the sixth, though: Jonathan Schoop singled, Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario walked, and after a Willi Castro strikeout, Jorge Bonifacio hit a deep-enough sacrifice fly to centre to score Schoop. Daz Cameron then followed with his first major-league hit, and it was a gigantic one: a two-run single past Jose Abreu at first to make it 3-0 for Detroit.
Up to this point the innings had been moving along very quickly, and you had to wonder if sitting on the bench for a little longer on a cool night (20°C, 68°F) would throw Mize off his game. He’d been sitting for a little more than a half-hour, and he walked Nomar Mazara to start the bottom of the sixth. Yolmer Sanchez broke up the no-hitter with a double down the right-field line, and Nick Madrigal’s groundout scored Mazara and ended Mize’s night.
Jose Cisnero came on with one out and a runner on third, and promptly hit Tim Anderson on an 0-2 pitch. Eloy Jimenez followed with a three-run home run to make it 4-3 for Chicago.
Look, I know Mize sat for a long time. But he’d only thrown 76 pitches, only given up one hit, and was looking absolutely fantastic for the whole game (and not too bad in the sixth). Hindsight is 20-20, of course, and you don’t want to ruin a young, prized arm, but really, should Mize have come out? Would there have been value in having him try to figure out how to get out of this sticky situation? Experience is the best teacher, as the saying goes, and if he ended up spinning out of control, then fine, Gardy, take him out. Sheesh.
Alright, I’m bummed. Lemme see a filthy Mize knuckle-curve, that’ll cheer me up a bit.
Casey Mize, Sick 82mph Knuckle Curve. pic.twitter.com/4Q6FVTMK2X— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 12, 2020
My friends, if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
The rest of the game progressed rather quietly. Gregory Soto got a strikeout, Buck Farmer did too, and Alex Colome continued his spectacular season by closing the game out. And yes, the only scoring was in the sixth.
We Live in Strange Times
Some folks may know that Tiger Stadium was once shared between the Lions and the Tigers. However...
For the first time in NFL history, there won’t be a ballpark converted into a football field this season.— MLB Cathedrals ⚾️ (@MLBcathedrals) September 11, 2020
The last shared field was in Oakland, but the Raiders have now de-camped to Las Vegas.
Notes and Numbers
- In the six games between the White Sox and Tigers before tonight, Chicago had outscored Detroit 46-18. Ouch.
- Jim Price often pronounces Jonathan Schoop’s last name as if it was “Scoop.” I checked a radio broadcast from last year when Schoop was on the Orioles, and he didn’t pronounce it like that. Interesting.
- Happy New Year, or Nayrouz, to those of you following the Coptic calendar. If you’re Ethiopian, it’s the first day of the month Mäskäräm, and it’s also the year 2013. (They started counting from a different date.)