Chicago White Sox starter Carlos Rodon exposed the Detroit Tigers by accumulating a whopping 12 strikeouts through six innings.
As Rodon cruised on the mound, Chicago’s offense broke through and delivered three runs in the fifth inning against right-hander Casey Mize. The Tigers (8-17) fell short, 3-1, in a seven-inning Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Rodon has held opponents this season to a .085 batting average. He picked up a no-hitter April 14 against Cleveland and has been dynamite through his four starts in 2021.
Before they scored in the fifth inning, the White Sox were 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position across the first 13 innings of the series. Rodon allowed one run on two hits and one walk. He tossed 66 of his 96 pitches for strikes. Righty Liam Hendriks pitched the seventh to complete Chicago’s win.
TUESDAY’S GAME: Tigers chase Lucas Giolito in seventh inning for 5-2 win
The Tigers complete the three-game series with Game 2 of the doubleheader Thursday. Left-hander Matthew Boyd is starting, opposed by righty Dylan Cease.
One bad inning
In the fifth, Mize loaded the bases with a single and two walks to the first three batters. Then, first baseman Miguel Cabrera bobbled a grounder from Billy Hamilton, which would have been a sure force out at home plate. While Hamilton was out at first, the first run scored against Mize.
Then, Leury Garcia singled on a first-pitch splitter to plate two more runs for the Sox.
“I felt like I was throwing the ball well, but the fifth got away from me,” Mize said. “Gave up a 1-2 (single) to (Jake) Lamb that he pulls. Just didn’t execute that pitch, then I walked two in a row. Disappointing because I felt like I threw the ball pretty well. It just sucks.”
The 23-year-old Mize used 10 pitches in the first inning, 14 in the second, 15 in the third, nine in the fourth, 22 in the fifth and 17 in the sixth.
Before he lost command of the strike zone early in the fifth frame, Mize had only given up an eight-pitch walk to Jose Abreu in the second and a double to Zack Collins in the third. He later stranded a leadoff double by Yoan Moncada in the sixth with a ground out and back-to-back strikeouts.
Mize allowed three runs on four hits and three walks, with six strikeouts. He tossed 87 pitches (53 strikes). He generated 13 swings-and-misses with four four-seam fastballs, three (of his six) curveballs, three sliders, two sinkers and one splitter.
“It feels good to be efficient and get your guys back in the dugout to allow them to get in the box and put together quality at-bats,” Mize said. “If they’re on the field too long, that really takes away from their plate appearances. I take pride in trying to get the innings over quickly and be as efficient as possible.”
Mize’s fastball averaged 94 mph and topped out at 95.9 mph.
A good sign?
As the Tigers desperately need someone to step up with consistent quality at-bats, Schoop is showing improvements on offense. In the first game of the series, on Tuesday, he crushed a solo home run in the eighth inning.
His first and second at-bats in Thursday’s early game produced a 105.1 mph exit velocity (line out to shortstop) and 108.7 mph exit velocity (double), respectively. He struck out swinging in his final at-bat.
Schoop needs more of these plate appearances — ones in which he makes hard contact — moving forward. He is still hitting only .197 through 22 games. The Tigers signed him to a one-year, $4.5 million contract this offseason after he hit .278 with eight home runs in 44 games for the Tigers in 2020.
Tiger for a day
Before Thursday’s doubleheader, the Tigers called up outfielder Derek Hill as the 27th player. He will be sent back to the alternate training site after the games are completed. The 25-year-old — drafted No. 23 overall in 2014 — is slated as the starting center fielder for Triple-A Toledo once the minor-league season begins in May.
It was Hill’s second time as a 27th player this season. He traveled from Toledo to Detroit for the April 21 doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates and recorded one inning in center field as a defensive replacement.
Hill made his MLB debut in 2020. He competed in 15 games, hitting 1-for-11 (.091) with one walk and six strikeouts. He was primarily used as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.