Happy Mize Day!
(Do you know how lonnnnnnnnnng we’ve been waiting to say that here at the Detroit Tigers Newsletter? Yeah, you probably do.)
Yes, after more than two years of waiting, everyone’s favorite Tigers pitching prospect is in the rotation, and making his Comerica Park debut tonight against the Chicago Cubs, in front of at least 30 of the biggest Casey Mize fans you know.
And while you can’t pop down to the party store for a celebrational card — yet — we have a feeling it’s going to become a popular summer holiday every five days in Detroit.
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That raises a very important question: What will we call it?
“Mize Day” is OK, but it’s a little on-the-nose, don’t you think? (Plus, it’s likely to draw a trademark infringement suit from Mariners fans who lost their “Felix Day” celebration when Felix Hernandez decamped for Atlanta.)
Some other options:
“Cinco de Mize-o”: Technically a celebration of a history from south of the border, but really just an excuse for Detroiters to wear hats and drink.
“Mize-o-ween”: In which we drag our Andy Dirks, Carlos Pena or Brad Ausmus No. 12 Tigers jersey out of the closet and cosplay as Mize for a night.
“Casey-mas!”: Just like Christmas, except that instead of a jolly fat man bringing gifts, we have Ron Gar … y’know, we’re just going to stop right there.
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(No longer on the) Farm report
Of course, Mize isn’t the only top prospect making his Comerica Park debut this week, as the Tigers called up left-handed pitcher Tarik Skubal and third baseman Isaac Paredes for last week’s road trip.
How’d they fare? So glad you asked:
Mize: The righty looked sharp at times against the White Sox on Wednesday — the Freep’s Evan Petzold gave him a B-plus overall — and became the ninth Tiger to strike out at least seven batters in his MLB debut. Now, that’s not the most telling factoid — it’s a class that includes the notorious Denny McLain and the forgettable Jose Alvarez — but it suggests he had something working for him against the ChiSox. Then again, he lasted just 4⅓ innings, mostly because he didn’t have a third pitch working beyond his fastball and splitter. Our Man Petzold talked with Mize about what he plans to do better tonight against that other Chicago team. (Read it here.)
Skubal: The 23-year-old lefty got two starts in — and gave up leadoff homers in both. On Tuesday, it was a recipe for disaster, as the ChiSox put up four runs in two innings to hand him the loss. On Sunday, though, he recovered to allow just the one run over 2⅓ innings before his pitch limit necessitated a call to the bullpen. Another difference: Tuesday’s start featured just one strikeout, while Sunday’s saw Skubal record five of his seven outs via the whiff. Yeah, his 10.38 ERA right now is ugly, but he’s already working on start No. 3 — scheduled for Friday — as Our Man Petzold broke down Sunday. (Read it here.)
Paredes: The 21-year-old struggled a bit early in Chicago, with just one hit in his first nine at-bats. But he and his bat made up in Cleveland, and Paredes went 4-for-11 in the Tigers’ series win over the Indians, with a grand slam for his first MLB homer on Friday night and a 3-for-4 outing in Sunday’s victory. His seven strikeouts are a little troubling — as you might expect from the sixth-youngest player in the majors — but his mature approach has the vets in the Tigers clubhouse raving, as Our Man Petzold discovered after Friday’s victory. (Find out why here.)
The Old Man and the D
From the youngest player on the roster to the oldest, we shift to Miguel Cabrera, who has been struggling as of late. Sunday was his 14th straight game without an extra-base hit, the longest such streak in a single season of his career. But all is not lost, as Our Man Petzold laid out here; the analytics suggest Cabrera might be due for a resurgence soon.
Mark your calendar, Part I
We’re down to the final week before the trade deadline hits on Aug. 31. Gosh, it feels like just last month we were waiting for the season to begin. Anyway, is this the year seemingly eternal-trade-chip Matthew Boyd gets dealt? Will the Tigers’ offseason signees be shipped out for prospects at the deadline, like so many Mike Fierses and Leonys Martins — or is that Leonyses Martin, like “Attorneys General” — before them? Click here to get a glimpse inside the mind of general manager Al Avila.
TWWTW: The (not entirely) weak week that was
The Tigers went 2-5 to drop their record to 11-15, which is bad, but snapped a nine-game overall losing streak and a 20-game losing streak to the Indians, which is good! Here’s how it happened:
[ Monday: Oh, it’s a rerun — “The One Where Matthew Boyd is Bad and Takes The Blame.” ]
[ Tuesday: “The One Where Tarik Skubal Makes His Debut.” ]
[ Wednesday: “The Debut.” ]
[ Thursday: “The One Where Spencer Turnbull Was ‘Misfiring All Over The Place.’” ]
[ Friday: “The One Where Michael Fulmer Was Bad, But Isaac Paredes Wasn’t.” ]
[ Saturday: “The One Where Matthew Boyd Eats Chocolate Cake.” ]
[ Sunday: “The One Where The Tigers Take Their First Series From Cleveland Since 2018 (Though It Feels Like 1918).” ]
Happy birthday, Justin Upton!
The former Tigers outfielder turns 33 on Tuesday; if you’re looking to send him a gift, might we suggest a hit — of any kind. Upton has just six of them on the season — and yes, we’re still in the “small sample size” portion of the year — but that’s in 64 at-bats with the Angels, to go with 26 strikeouts and five walks. The good news? A full third of his hits have gone for extra bases. The bad news? That’s only two. Add it all up and that’s a slash line of .094/.169/.188. Ouch.
Other Tigers birthdays: David Price (35 on Wednesday), Jordy Mercer (34 on Thursday).
Mark your calendar, Part II
The Cubs aren’t the only team coming to Comerica Park this week; after the three-game set against the Cubs, the AL Central-leading Twins hit town for the first time this season for a four-game set starting Thursday. Their arrival will bring the semi-annual Avila Family Reunion, as Alex is backing things up behind the plate in Minnesota. He’s having a very Alex Avila-like season, if you were wondering, with an Upton (six, if you skipped the previous section) of hits in 32 at-bats, and 10 walks to elevate his on-base percentage to .409.
Put in your vacation request for “Skubal-entine’s Day” now.
Contact Ryan Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @theford. Oh, and did we mention the Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content.