Tigers soaking up good vibes in recent run

August 25th, 2021

ST. LOUIS -- Tigers pitcher channeled his inner on Tuesday during a 4-3 win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

No, the 24-year-old right-hander did not hit one of the towering home runs that have marked Cabrera’s career.

But he did show that his bat flip ranks right up there with the future Hall of Famer’s, and he got to show off the Tigers’ bow-and-arrow home run celebration in the process.

In his first Major League plate appearance, Mize drew a four-pitch bases-loaded walk from Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty that elicited a veteran-level flip. Mize followed it up with the bow-and-arrow gesture to the Tigers’ bench, much to the delight of his teammates.

“That’s pretty unlike me, honestly, to do something like that,” Mize said of the bat flip. “But at the moment, I just having fun, and it happened.”

He added, “I watched the video and it went a little further than I intended, but it is what it is. It’s all good.”

The smiling faces in Detroit’s dugout told a bigger story.

While winning cures many an ailment, and the Tigers have been doing plenty of that lately, including Tuesday’s triumph over the Cardinals, Mize’s walk and the dugout’s response showed the fun the team is experiencing. Whether it is a milestone homer for a superstar or a walk for a pitcher who hasn’t swung a bat in years, they are enjoying the ride.

“He let us know,” right fielder said of Mize’s flip. “I saw a video of him flipping the bat, but he better enjoy it because if he doesn't get to pitch in Pittsburgh, it will be the last at-bat he’ll ever get, probably.”

Mize continued the fun on the mound, shutting out the Cardinals through five innings. He pitched around three leadoff hits while striking out two and walking two.

The start was a positive ending to what had otherwise been a forgettable August for Mize. Entering the game, Mize was 0-1 with a 6.07 ERA over 13 1/3 innings and opponents were hitting .302 against him in three previous starts this month.

“Casey was focused on making pitches and taking the next pitch,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It was hot, sweaty, [he] didn't have great grip. He got on the bases, which is fun for everybody, but also horrible when you're trying to conserve energy on a night like tonight.”

Control was key for Mize, who threw first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 19 batters he faced.

Mize said an adjustment to his mechanics made the difference.

“I wasn't moving quick enough on the mound,” MIze said. “I just seemed real slow and lethargic on the mound. We were working on moving quicker over the rubber, just trying to be a little bit more explosive, and I felt like I was driving the ball a little bit better tonight, so definitely felt better there.”

Grossman and Cabrera got in on the fun with back-to-back homers in the third. Cabrera’s blast, a 423-foot rocket into the third deck in left field, was his second-longest homer of the season, and it came one game after he hit career No. 500.

Detroit has won three of its last four and seeks a season sweep of St. Louis on Wednesday. The Tigers are 10 games over .500 since the beginning of May and look to keep the positive vibes going.

“A lot of the young guys have grown up right in front of our eyes, and the camaraderie we have in the clubhouse is awesome,” Grossman said. “I'm blessed to be a part of this and excited for what's to come.”