KANSAS CITY — The future is now for the Tigers, at least on the pitching side. Casey Mize, however, has been ahead of schedule for a while.
Mize started them off with 6 2/3 quality innings on Tuesday night, protecting an early lead while letting an overtaxed bullpen catch its breath in a 4-3 win at Kauffman Stadium.
The victory clinched Detroit’s first series win here since July 23-25, 2018. Fellow rookie Tarik Skubal gets the start on Wednesday afternoon with a chance to pitch the Tigers to their first sweep at Kauffman Stadium since May 2-4, 2014, part of an eight-game winning streak that included wins from Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.
The Tigers have invested heavily in pitching in the MLB Draft hoping to build that kind of rotation again. They’re not there yet, but Mize might not be far off. He’s already good enough that the team can leverage his starts to not only rest the bullpen, but win low-scoring games.
The last time Mize pitched in this park, he shut down the Royals until the seventh inning, keeping Detroit ahead in a pitching duel until Kansas City rallied in the ninth off Michael Fulmer. Mize wasn’t as sharp this time around, but Detroit had just enough early offense to ensure he didn’t have to be. Jonathan Schoop’s two-run homer in the third inning built a 3-0 lead for him before Daz Cameron’s RBI single in the sixth plated what turned out to be the decisive run.
Mize gave up two runs in the third after back-to-back leadoff singles and a run-scoring wild pitch, but he stranded runners at the corners with a strikeout of Kelvin Gutierrez. He retired 10 of 11 Royals from there until Jarrod Dyson doubled and scored in the seventh.