Right-hander Casey Mize was having the game of his life on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. He had a no-hitter for five-plus innings but didn’t figure in the decision as the Tigers blew a three-run lead and lost to the White Sox, 4-3. With the defeat, the Tigers fell to 20-24 and 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the final Wild Card spot.
“This is probably as mad as I’ve been through the whole thing, just because of the way it ended up, because I thought we played a really good ball game,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Unfortunately, [we lost]. I’m frustrated with it ... but we have to turn it around. We still have a chance to win two out of three.”
Mize, the team’s first overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, had his way with the two-seam fastball and changeup during the first five innings. He retired every member of the White Sox lineup except for Edwin Encarnación, who walked in the second inning. It marked the first time Mize went deeper than four innings in a start.
“I definitely felt better commanding the fastball. It was a little more down in the zone. That was the big focus this week,” Mize said. “I was able to keep them off-balance. I had some good breaking balls in there as well. I really tried to attack the zone.”
It also looked like Mize was going collect his first career win because the Tigers gave him a 3-0 lead off White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito in the sixth inning. Daz Cameron highlighted the scoring with a two-run single, the first hit of his career. His father, Mike Cameron, collected his first Major League hit in Chicago as a member of the White Sox in 1995. The hit was against the Tigers.
“For me to get my first hit here is kind of surreal. It’s something I will remember forever,” Daz Cameron said.
The top of the sixth lasted 28 minutes, leaving some question as to whether Mize was sitting in the dugout too long. The answer is yes, according to Gardenhire.
“We were really worried about it,” Gardenhire said. “He was overstretching. He was trying to stay loose.”
Mize didn’t make any excuses. He was happy the Tigers scored three runs, and he said he should have done a better job when he went back on the mound.
“I’m not going to say [staying in the dugout] took a toll. But it is what it is,” Mize said.
But by the time he was back on the rubber, Mize wasn’t the same pitcher. He walked Nomar Mazara and allowed a double to Yolmer Sánchez. Nick Madrigal then grounded out, scoring Mazara.
Gardenhire then decided to take Mize out of the game in favor of right-hander Jose Cisnero.
“You just can't leave him out there after that,” Gardenhire said. “It’s unfortunate because he was really throwing the ball well. His pitch count was OK. We figured we could get at least one more inning out of him. I’m not going to leave him out there to get hammered after sitting on the bench that long.”
The move by Gardenhire backfired when Eloy Jiménez hit a three-run homer to give Chicago a one-run lead it wouldn't lose.
“It was a disappointing game, frustrating game, but the good part is that Casey was throwing the ball great until that long inning,” Gardenhire said. “That’s the guy we think is going to be here for a long time.”