We’ve been waiting for signs that Casey Mize might be ready to take off. The former No. 1 overall pick looked the part on Monday in Seattle.
Mize pitched into the eighth inning of the Tigers’ 3-1 victory over the Mariners, the deepest he has gone in 15 career major league starts. He finished the night going 7 2/3 frames, allowing one run on just three hits and three walks while striking out a season-high seven. Mize induced 11 swinging strikes and posted a 33 percent CSW rate.
The 24-year-old had a shutout going into the eighth but served up a solo home run to Tom Murphy to lead off the inning. He bounced back by striking out the next two hitters but was then pulled rather than being allowed to face Jarred Kelenic (who was taken five picks after Mize in the 2018 Draft) a fourth time. The Tigers’ bullpen shut the door, allowing Mize to pick up his third win.
Mize’s ERA sat at 5.23 after he was pummeled by the Royals for six runs back on April 23 in the second of back-to-back rough outings. Since then, though the young right-hander has reeled off four straight quality starts, lowering his ERA all the way down to 3.69. He’s permitted only 13 hits over 25 2/3 innings during the span.
There are certainly still things Mize needs to work on. Even during his nice recent run, he’s still walking too many guys (12 in 25 2/3 frames), and on the year his 34/19 K/BB ratio across 46 1/3 innings leaves a lot to be desired. His xFIP of 4.55 suggests that he’s had some good fortune. Still, these are steps in the right direction for a guy whose professional experience was relatively limited prior to his debut last season.
Mize will make the second of two starts this week on Sunday in Kansas City. The Royals are just 2-13 over their last 15 games, so it’s a good opportunity for Mize to keep things rolling.
Starting Pitchers with an EDGE
Yu Darvish vs. COL – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 10 K
The Rockies away from Coors Field are a good matchup for most anyone, especially in their first road game following a homestand. For a pitcher of Darvish’s caliber, it’s almost not even fair. It was the deepest he’s pitched into a game as a Padre, and it’s the first time in nine starts this season that he didn’t walk anyone. The 34-year-old right-hander now boasts a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 54 2/3 frames this season to go along with a microscopic 1.81 ERA.
Walker Buehler vs. ARI – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 4 BB, 7 K
Buehler came into Monday’s start having walked just three batters on the season, but he walked that many in the fourth inning alone against the Diamondbacks. He was able to get out of that jam, though, and ultimately the only hit he gave up on the night was an infield single to Josh Rojas, the second batter of the game. Workload was understandably a concern for Buehler coming into 2021, but he’s now gone at least six innings in all eight starts.
Logan Webb vs. CIN – 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 K
It wasn’t one of Webb’s best days when it comes to swings and misses with just four punchouts and nine swinging strikes, but he made up for it with 10 groundball outs to just three flyouts. If you remove a poor showing at Coors Field, Webb boasts a 1.44 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 26/7 K/BB ratio over 25 innings covering his last four outings. He was removed from Monday’s start early due to some right shoulder soreness, but it sounds like it was more precautionary.
Jordan Lyles vs. NYY – 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K
The attention coming into this game was understandably on Gerrit Cole, but Lyles wound up out-pitching the Yankees right-hander. Lyles revealed that he worked in the bullpen in between starts on abandoning his shorter leg kick from the stretch, and it clearly helped his command as he put together his best start of the season. He had entered the game with a 6.63 ERA and just one quality start.
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Hitters with an EDGE
Nick Madrigal vs. MIN – 3-for-5, HR, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 3 R
No, this is not a typo. Madrigal hit a home run, and it went over the fence and everything (just barely, but hey, it counts). Madrigal actually came into Monday’s game scuffling at the plate, but he slugged his first major league home run as part of an offensive explosion for the White Sox. Yermin Mercedes and Danny Mendick were among the other members of the Pale Hose to put up big numbers in this one.
Eric Haase vs. SEA – 2-for-4, 2 HR
Haase had the first multi-homer game during his brief major league career on Monday, going deep off Yusei Kikuchi in the second inning and again off of reliever Brady Lail in the ninth. A catcher by trade, Haase was actually making his first major league start in left field in this one. The 28-year-old has never had trouble hitting homers in the minors, but poor plate discipline always held him back from being more of a prospect.
Shohei Ohtani vs. CLE – 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB
Ohtani smacked a three-run home run off of left-hander Sam Hentges in the second inning of Monday’s game on a pitch that was quite literally almost head-high. It was the major league-leading 13th home run for Ohtani, who also drew a couple walks and scored an additional run. The guy is amazing.
Brendan Rodgers, 2B/SS, Rockies – available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues
Rodgers looked to be in line to open the season as the Rockies’ second baseman and was sporting a 1.052 OPS during spring training before he went down with a hamstring injury in mid-March. It’s been a long recovery process, but Rodgers has played in four rehab games and gone 5-for-11 at the plate, setting himself up to make his season debut soon. The 24-year-old has really struggled during his chances in the majors to this point, but the sample size is small. Rodgers should play regularly once activated and it wasn’t long ago that he was considered one of the top prospects in the game.
Tyler Rogers was called upon to close out a three-run lead for the Giants on Monday and was up to the task, pitching around a hit and an error. The submariner now boasts a 0.73 ERA on the season and has picked up each of the last three saves for the Giants. Jake McGee has the gaudier peripherals and should still be in the mix for saves, but Rogers looks to be at the top of the pecking order for now, as unconventional of a closer as he may be.
Ian Kennedy continued his surprising season on Monday in needing just nine pitches to close out the Rangers’ victory over the Yankees. It was his 11th save in 11 opportunities, and he now has a 21/4 K/BB ratio across 17 frames. Kennedy could fetch the Rangers a nice prospect at the trade deadline if he can keep this up for a while longer.
Michael Fulmer pitched a scoreless ninth inning to lock down his third save of the season on Monday in Seattle. It came after Gregory Soto entered in the eighth with two out and retired the only batter he faced. In the Tigers’ last three victories, Fulmer has a win and two saves. He seems to have found a home in the bullpen and could be the favorite for saves among Detroit’s relief corps moving forward, although manager A.J. Hinch noted after the game that Soto would’ve had the ninth if Casey Mize was able to finish the eighth.
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Tuesday’s Matchup of the Day
Patrick Corbin (WAS) vs. Zach Davies (CHC)
I’ll be interested to see if these two can keep the momentum going from their recent performances. Corbin’s velocity was up in his last outing in what was arguably his best start of the season, as he struck out a season-high nine over seven innings of one-run ball versus the Phillies. He has a 2.70 ERA in May after posting a 10.47 mark in April. Meanwhile, Davies has yielded only three runs – two earned – over 16 1/3 frames in three starts this month after holding a 9.47 ERA last month.
American League Quick Hits: Mike Trout departed Monday’s game against the Indians with a right calf strain. He will be evaluated further on Tuesday before more is known about how much time he might miss … A left quad strain landed Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list Monday. The Yankees are hopeful that he’ll be ready to go when his 10 days are up … Jose Abreu will not play in the White Sox' series against the Twins after being diagnosed with inflammation in his left ankle. The hope is that he’ll be ready to go this weekend … The Royals placed Danny Duffy on the injured list Monday because of a left flexor strain … Adolis Garcia hit his 11th homer and was credited with a steal of home Monday against the Yankees … Rob Refsnyder went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI as the Twins got trounced by the White Sox on Monday … Willie Calhoun smacked a homer and a double off the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole on Monday … Luke Voit went 2-for-4 and hit his first homer of the season on Monday against the Rangers … Mitch Garver was lifted from Monday's game against the White Sox after taking a foul tip off his right knee … Enrique Hernandez (hamstring) is expected to be activated from the injured list Tuesday … Anthony Santander (ankle) is on track to be activated for this weekend's series versus the Nationals.
National League Quick Hits: The Mets placed Michael Conforto (hamstring) and Jeff McNeil (hamstring) on the injured list Monday … Huascar Ynoa will be sidelined for at least a couple months after fracturing his right hand when he punched the dugout wall … Taijuan Walker will undergo an MRI on his left side after exiting Monday’s start versus the Braves following three scoreless innings … Max Fried was removed from Monday's start against the Mets as a precaution due to cramping in his left hand. He’s expected to be fine and allowed just one run while fanning eight over six frames before being pulled … Stephen Strasburg (shoulder) has rejoined the Nationals and will throw a 50-55 pitch bullpen session Tuesday, potentially setting him up to return as soon as Friday … Ronald Acuna (ankle) was hitless in his return to the lineup Monday … Will Smith went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double and two runs scored on Monday versus the Diamondbacks … Manny Machado homered and doubled against the Rockies on Monday … Madison Bumgarner had to leave Monday's start against the Dodgers because of a left adductor spasm. The injury is not considered serious … Jurickson Profar (COVID-19) singled twice and scored two runs in his return to action Monday … Jason Heyward went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in the Cubs' win over the Nationals on Monday … Wilmer Flores went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run on Monday as the Giants topped the Reds … Kevin Pillar had to leave Monday's game against the Braves after being struck in the face by a pitch. He underwent a CT scan, the results of which should be available Tuesday … C.J. Cron (back) is expected to be activated from the injured list on Tuesday … Eric Hosmer (COVID-19) is expected to be activated on Wednesday … Noah Syndergaard (elbow) will begin a rehab assignment with High-A St. Lucie on Wednesday … Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area has reported that it "seems like a good bet" that Donovan Solano (calf) is activated on Friday.