I would love to tell you that this game was a great start to the Casey Mize Cy Young season we’ve been dreaming about since he was first drafted, but if I told you that I would be a liar. Perhaps it was the frigid chill in the air, or maybe the shortened spring training, but Mize had a fair bit of trouble in his five innings of work, and it didn’t help that White Sox starter Dylan Cease — driven by the power of his incredible mustache — had a very strong start.
Let’s take a look at what happened in Saturday’s game.
In the first, Pollock popped out to start the inning but a Robert single, followed by an Abreu double showed the first cracks in Mize’s performance. Grandal struck out, but then Jiménez singled to score Robert and Abreu, putting the White Sox on the board early. The Tigers were not able to balance things out in the bottom of the inning, as the only Tigers hit was a Meadows single that didn’t come to anything.
The second went smoothly for Mize and he seemed to be settling, getting a one-two-three inning. The only Tigers baserunner in the bottom of the inning was Haase, who drew a two-out walk.
Pollock singled to start the third, but appeared to injure himself pulling into first base, and was replaced by Vaughn. The next three batters were quickly sent down via flyouts. Alas, the Tigers fared no better in the bottom of the third, going one-two-three.
The fourth was an identical scenario for both teams as they went down in order for a quick inning.
Mize gave up a triple to Josh Harrison to start the fifth, but the rest of the White Sox went down in order, and in the bottom half the Tigers tried to make something happen with walks from Haase and Torkelson, but no runners scored.
In the sixth, things fell apart for Mize — who had been relatively lucky in terms of runs — when an Abreu single was followed by a Grandal home run, bringing the White Sox score to 4-0, and marking the end of the game for Mize, whose final line was 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR on 81 pitches. Joe Jiménez came on for the Tigers in relief and ended things in a tidy fashion. This Baddoo catch also deserves a spotlight.
The Tigers started to make things happen offensively in the sixth as a Meadows single chased Cease from the game. Báez singled to put two on with no one out, and Candelario doubled, to bring Meadows home. In a moment we knew was coming, a passed ball at home made Báez run aggressively, and it was only an incredibly well-timed tag by reliever Lopez that caught him. Yes, it was aggressive, no, he didn’t score, but honestly, it was some nice hustle to see. Cabrera drew a walk, and then Schoop reached grounded into a fielder’s choice, but Candelario was able to score and Cabrera advanced to second on the error as Sox shortstop Garcia just... didn’t throw. A double play ended the inning, but the Tigers had gotten two back, putting the score at 4-2.
Harrison doubled to start the seventh, and a Burger sacrifice advanced Harrison to third. Vaughn then singled to bring Harrison home. In the bottom of the inning Torkelson drew a walk, but Baddoo grounded into a double play, and Grossman flied out to end the inning.
Vest continued in fine form in the top of the eighth setting the White Sox down in order. In the bottom of the inning Báez singled, and then the baserunner was erased by a Candelario double play.
Onto the ninth and it was Micheal Fulmer to the mound. Looking dialed in, Fulmer had a fine one-two-three inning. Sweet! Cabrera singled to start the bottom of the ninth, then Schoop hit a nice, clean single to put two men on, and for the White Sox this was indeed a Bummer (haha jokes because Aaron Bummer was pitching.... I’m so sorry). Haase struck out, and Torkelson struck out clearly showing his frustration by slamming his bat into home plate. It’s okay Tork, it’s only game two. Garneau struck out to end the inning and the game.
White Sox 5, Tigers 2.