I have a very clear memory of recapping a game last season between the Tigers and the Astros that featured a matchup between Casey Mize and Zack Greinke. In that game I also remember losing my mind watching Greinke pitch a 30-ish mph eephus pitch. Anyway, it was delightful and this is a very roundabout way of saying this is not the first time these two pitchers have squared off against each other.
Casey Mize would probably be the first to tell you his initial start for the Tigers this season was not a very good outing. Tonight, he seemed to be feeling more confident, and while not the performance I think fans would ultimately like to see from him, he had much better stuff than his first start.
Greinke started out well enough in the first inning, though things would soon get very imbalanced for him. He went through the top of the Tigers’ order 1-2-3 to start the game. In the bottom of the inning Witt Jr, the young Royals phenom, proved why he’s been so popular with the team, as he got a one-out triple. He was, however, soon eliminated from the basepaths in a rundown in a fielder’s choice. The Royals were ultimately scoreless.
The Tigers really found the weak points in Greinke’s delivery in the top of the second. Candelario singled to leadoff the inning, then Cabrera singled (2992). Baddoo drew a walk to load things up, then Spencer Torkelson was hit by a pitch to walk Candy in as a run. Castro hit a sac fly and Cabrera probably should have held up, but he hustled home and made a perfect dodging slide to score the run. His strut back to the dugout was incredible. It’s true that the Tigers are at their most fun when Miggy is having fun. The Tigers ended the inning up up 2-0.
Mize had his own struggles in the bottom of the second, walking Santana, then giving up a single to Dozier. Mondesi bunted, and Mize very wisely threw to second to minimize the runners in scoring position. The play was initially called safe because umpires I guess, but the review call showed the catch at second was perfect and the call was overturned. Mondesi did steal second but the Royals were again scoreless.
Greinke chilled out in the third and once again the Tigers went down 1-2-3. Mize had a solid enough third as well with only a Benintendi single against him, and no runs.
In the top of the fourth Cabrera singled again (2993), but Torkelson grounded into a one-out double play to end the inning. Things got pretty ugly for Mize in the bottom of the fourth. Dozier hit a one-out triple, then a Mondesi walk followed to put men at the corners. Taylor hit an infield single that scored Dozier, then a Merrifield single scored Mondesi. It wasn’t the prettiest inning of baseball ever played by the Tigers, and the Royals were now tied 2-2.
The fifth was largely uneventful, with both teams managing to go 1-2-3, which was both a blessing and a curse in a tie game scenario. The fifth would mark the end of the game for Mize though, who finished the day with a line of 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR on 88 pitches.
The top of the sixth kicked off with a leadoff single from Meadows, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch from Greinke. The next two batters went down in order, but it was still the end of the night for Greinke. Cabrera then singled off reliever Snider (2994) but Meadows was thrown out running for home to end the inning. Joe Jimenez was on for the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth and allowed a leadoff infield single to Dozier but was otherwise solid.
In the top of the seventh Torkelson drew a one-out walk. Then with two outs, Haase singled, followed by a Reyes single that allowed Tork to score and sent Haase to third. Meadows then blooped a single into left field to score Haase. The Tigers left two men on base, but managed to regain the lead.
2 outs, 2 hits, 2 runs: Things you love 2 see. pic.twitter.com/1Y2fJUfXI8— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 15, 2022
Lange was the man on for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning, and he got through the order cleanly.
The top of the eighth saw the Tigers sent back to the dugout in order. Michael Fulmer was the next reliever in for the Tigers, and he handled it just as cleanly, without a single Royals baserunner.
Onto the ninth inning and the Tigers were hoping to maintain their lead and come away with a win to start the four-game series. The Royals made short order of them, keeping the Tigers to a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. Gregory Soto would be the man hoping to keep the Royals from scoring. Soto issued a one-out walk to Taylor. He got the next two outs and the Tigers took the win.
Final: Tigers 4, Royals 2