Casey Mize collected his first August victory in his last outing, and the Detroit Tigers rookie righthander will try to make it two straight when he faces the visiting Minnesota Twins in a makeup game on Monday.
Mize tossed five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits at St. Louis on Tuesday and Detroit held on for a 4-3 win. He had a loss and two no-decisions in his previous starts this month.
A key to his success is keeping the ball in the ballpark. Mize (7-6, 3.55 ERA) has only allowed one home run in his seven victories this season. He’s given up 21 long balls in his 17 other starts.
Mize has made some tweaks since allowing six home runs in his first two August outings.
“I don’t dive too much into mechanics during the season,” Mize said. “I think this time of year we need to work more on being over the plate. But sometimes to make yourself more over the plate, you have to reevaluate your mechanics. I wasn’t moving quick enough on the mound. I seemed real slow and lethargic. We worked on moving quicker over the rubber and being more explosive.”
Mize is 0-1 with a 6.89 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota. He hasn’t faced the Twins since his first start this season, when he allowed one run on five hits in four innings.
He’ll be opposed by another right-hander, Bailey Ober (1-2, 4.06). Ober’s lone victory came on July 5 but he’s pitched well in recent outings. He held Boston scoreless and struck out seven in five innings on Wednesday and blanked the Chicago White Sox through 5 1/3 innings on Aug.11. In between, he gave up two earned runs in six innings against Cleveland.
Ober took an aggressive approach against the high-powered Red Sox lineup.
“We wanted to come out this game and really attack these guys with fastballs,” Ober said afterward. “That was mainly our game plan going into (the start) and for the most part, I felt like I executed that pretty well and had some pretty good results.”
Ober has faced Detroit once, allowing four runs in 3 1/3 innings in a no-decision on July 10.
The Twins have been forced to rely on inexperienced arms for the remainder of the season due to injuries. They lost to Milwaukee 6-2 on Sunday.
“There’s a lot going on with these guys right now,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “They’re being exposed to this, and [we’re] letting them go out there and swim for themselves, but we’re going to run into bumps.”
The Tigers lost their last two games at home against Toronto after winning the series opener on Friday. They only scored one run on Sunday. Manager A.J. Hinch wants his club to wind up with a winning record.
“I don’t want five, six, seven games under .500 and just competing hard to be the end-all, be-all,” Hinch said. “It’s a good step. It’s a needed step. We worked our tails off to be relevant. But we haven’t arrived yet. I don’t want to try hard and get complimented for trying.”
–Field Level Media