Well the Tigers showed us a few things in handling Houston and Cleveland back-to-back, but tonight the Chicago White showed them a little more in terms of how they are from becoming a threat in the division. The Tigers held their own until a bullpen malfunction in the top of the ninth turned this one into a laugher as the Sox won 8-2.
Casey Mize was only scheduled to pitch three innings tonight, as the club looks to manages his innings through the middle part of the season in hopes of avoiding the need to shut him down in August or September. This was going to make for a tough night against Lance Lynn to begin with, and things didn’t start off too well.
Tim Anderson, as always, led off the game with a knock, reaching on an infield single to third base. Mize got Gavin Sheets on a ground out, and then locked up Jose Abreu with a pair of fastballs. However, a 2-1 slider to Yasmani Grandal was down in his happy zone and he pulled it past a diving Jonathan Schoop for an RBI single. Mize missed with a few fastballs and fell behind to Brian Goodwin, and Goodwin drilled a triple up the left center field gap to score Grandal. Mize got Andrew Vaughn on a ground out to end the frame, but as it turned out the winning run had already crossed the plate.
The Tigers did make a bid to return serve in the bottom of the inning, but the story of the game was their inability to find a key hit with runners in scoring position. Akil Baddoo led off with an infield single against the shift, and after Jonathan Schoop struck out, Lance Lynn misfired with four straight balls to walk Robbie Grossman. Baddoo then stole third as Lynn was preoccupied with his command. Chances for a run looked good, but Miguel Cabrera popped out to second base. Grossman then took second base unopposed, setting things up for a Jeimer Candelario RBI knock, but at that point, Lynn dialed in his mechanics again, winning a seven pitch duel with a cutter down and in that Candy couldn’t lay off of.
At that point, Mize and Lynn were locked in, both facing the minimum in the second and third. Tyler Alexander came on for Mize in the fourth and spun a quick 1-2-3 inning with the heart of the Tigers order coming up in the bottom half.
Robbie Grossman led off the frame with a single, and after Cabrera struck out, Candelario drew a free pass. Daz Cameron drilled a hot shot to third, but Jake Burger was able to snare it and get Cameron at first, but again they had runners on second and third with two outs. And again, Lynn dialed it up to escape the jam, blowing away Harold Castro on three pitches.
The Tigers finally pushed across a run in the fifth. Jake Rogers singled to left with one out, and Baddoo followed with his second hit of the game to move Rogers to third. Schoop brought him home with a sacrifice fly that looked for a moment like it might find the bullpens. Baddoo then took second, and Robbie Grossman walked, and again the Tigers had two men on with two outs. For the third time they couldn’t cash the chips, as Cabrera grounded out to third base.
Erasmo Ramirez made his first appearance since being called up from Toledo, and he finished up the fifth for Alexander and spun a clean sixth as well. In the seventh, he allowed doubles to Andrew Vaughn and Burger—really a misread on Daz Cameron’s part—that eventually cost the Tigers another run, but through seven innings it was still just 3-1 White Sox and a comeback seemed very possible even against a tough Sox bullpen.
However, the Tigers wasted a one out double from Schoop in the bottom of the seventh. Daniel Norris handled the eighth with no issues, but the Sox pen was relentless and the Tigers managed just a Harold Castro single in the bottom half of the eighth.
Then things blew up in their face.
Bryan Garcia just didn’t have it. He allowed a leadoff homer from Vaughn in the top of the ninth, followed by three straight singles and another run scored before he was mercifully lifted for Buck Farmer. Farmer didn’t have it either. A Sheets three run blast ended any hope of a comeback. The Tigers managed three straight singles with two outs to push across one run in the bottom of the ninth, but that was all.
Overall, it was a pretty well pitched game until the ninth. Mize made one key mistake, whereas Lynn was able to keep the Tigers off the board until he settled in, and once he did, he dominated as usual despite five walks on the night.
The Tigers will send Tarik Skubal to the mound, with no innings limitations per Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic Detroit, on Saturday afternoon against Dallas Keuchel. Probably a good idea to win that one before Matt Manning duels Lucas Giolito on the Fourth.
Hope you all have a great holiday weekend.