Rookie sensation Casey Mize will aim to build on his first major league win when the Detroit Tigers oppose the host Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers hope to give Mize (1-0, 0.82 ERA) more offensive support than they provided to either of their first two starters in the current four-game series, 8-4 and 3-0 losses.
The A’s, who have won six consecutive games, are expected to counter with left-hander Cole Irvin (0-2, 7.45 ERA), who has struggled in a pair of starts this season, both against the Houston Astros.
Mize, who went 0-3 in seven starts last season while retaining his rookie status, beat the Astros on Monday. He threw seven shutout innings, allowing four hits, in his first career start outside the American League Central.
“I’ve learned to succeed through failure, and I’ve had quite a lot of it, especially early at new levels,” said Mize, who will turn 24 on May 1. “I’m not saying I’m through that here. I’ve still got to keep this thing rolling and keep the train moving forward. But that failure really allowed me to re-evaluate some things, to go back to the drawing board.”
The Tigers will have to consider doing the same with their offense. Two of their four runs in the series came when they were already down six in the ninth inning Thursday, while all four of Friday’s hits off A’s right-hander Frankie Montas and three relievers were singles.
Mize, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 draft, has never faced any member of the A’s, and Irvin will begin the game a complete stranger to the Tigers as well. In three seasons, he has never faced a single member of their current roster.
He has seen plenty of the Astros, on the other hand. They crushed him for 12 hits and eight runs over 9 2/3 innings in 9-1 and 6-2 losses.
With veteran A’s right-hander Mike Fiers stepping up his rehab work in an effort to shake off a lumbar strain, Irvin could be making his last start in a while if he can’t turn things around on Saturday.
“Everything has to go well, and he has to be healthy,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of the possibility of Fiers joining the rotation next week. “We’ll try to get him up to 90 (pitches in a scrimmage on Tuesday) and then we’ll look to do something.”
Irvin will have to go without the offensive production of outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who homered early in Oakland’s Thursday win. He later left the stadium with the game still in progress to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, a son.
Piscotty was put on the paternity list on Friday and is expected to miss both weekend games.
–Field Level Media