Casey Mize took on a tough opponent in Chicago White Sox ace Lance Lynn, but two pitches he’d like back sunk them on a night where the Detroit Tigers’ offense was overpowered. The White Sox hit four solo home runs to take this one 4-1.
Mize has had some troubles being a bit too aggressive when he’s ahead in the count. We saw it in spring camp, and we saw it a lot in April. However, he’s really locked it down over his last five starts. Tonight, there were a couple of loose pitches in swing counts that did him in.
In the first inning, Mize had Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada down 0-2. He went with a splitter down and away from the lefty, but while the pitch was out of the zone, it was up enough for Moncada to flick it out over the left field wall for a solo home run. Similar story in the second, where Mize had Jake Lamb in a 1-1 count, but ran a 94 mph fastball right back into the heart of the plate. Lamb deposited that one over the right field wall, and the Sox led 2-0.
The game stayed that way for a couple of quick innings. Mize was really rolling, burning through the White Sox with well located fastballs and sliders of varying movement. It was quite a show. He mixed in the curve and the split effectively as well.
On the offensive side, Robbie Grossman led off the game with a single. He was erased in a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out play with Jeimer Candelario at the plate, and Miguel Cabrera flew out to the warning track in right field.
In the second, a two-out single and then a stolen base by Niko Goodrum started the Tigers best opportunity of the night. Willi Castro and Akil Baddoo fought through tough at-bats to draw walks and load the bases. Lynn was struggled to locate his cutter, and looked a little shaky, but he turned to his rarely used curveball instead and fought through the jam. He painted the outside low corner with a fastball to strike out Jake Rogers and turn away the threat. The Tigers never mustered another one as they were simply overpowered by Lynn.
Willi Castro has finally showed some signs of life at the plate, and he was the one to get the Tigers on the board in the fifth. He ambushed a first pitch cutter and drove it over the wall in right center field for his fourth long ball of the season.
Perhaps sensing that run support was not going to be forthcoming, Mize really dialed in for the middle innings racking up quick outs and strikeouts aplenty. He may have gotten a bit too aggressive after seeing a ton of weak contact from baffled White Sox hitters. In a 1-1 count, he tried a swingback twoseam fastball to Yasmani Grandal, and it ran right into the heart of the plate. Once again, they didn’t miss the mistake. Grandal smoked that one out to right field, and it was 3-1 Sox.
Mize’s night was done at that point, finishing with seven innings, three earned runs on five hits, no walks, six strikeouts, and three solo home runs.
Daniel Norris punched out three hitters in the bottom of the eighth, but he faced four, with Tim Anderson this time jumping on a slider up for another solo shot to make it four on the night for the Sox. The inning ended with Norris freezing Mondada with a 95 mph fastball just low that home plate umpire Will Little called a strike. The White Sox dugout lost their mind at that call, and starter Lucas Giolito was ejected for arguing. Closer Liam Hendricks was probably mentally instructing them to quit crying, as he had this on lock. Niko Goodrum reached on a dropped called strike three with two outs, after the play was reviewed and overturned, but Hendricks got Willi Castro to roll over to third, and that was that.
Spencer Turnbull will take on lefty Dallas Keuchel on Friday night.
-A leadoff single in the sixth for Jeimer Candelario extended his on-base streak to 29 games, currently the best in baseball.
-Prior to tonight, Mize had allowed just one home run since April 23rd.