Time for this week’s edition of the Motor City Message. The Tigers are promoting some players, bringing the future to the present.
Tarik Skubal‘s Debut
First, 23-year-old Detroit Tiger pitching prospect Tarik Skubal made his debut at Guaranteed Rate Field. Skubal was a ninth-round draft pick in 2018 and has excelled at each level, thrusting him into a Top 50 prospect in the MLB. Along with Skubal, the Tigers brought up the 2018 number one pick, Casey Mize.
Skubal’s final line was four runs on seven hits and one walk. He needed 52 pitches to get through two innings and only had one strikeout. Overall, the young southpaw struggled to slow down a hot White Sox line-up. Even though the final line did not meet expectations, there was some good, more bad, and some flat out ugly. But the young Tiger has room to grow and we take a look at what is solid now and what needs to be worked on.
In his lone strikeout, we as Tiger fans got a good look at Skubal’s bread-and-butter slide piece. Another instance we saw the young southpaw use his slider was the double play in the first inning. Skubal was able to roll up a double-play ball on a slider with two runners on and no outs in the first inning. Although the final stat line did not show much good, Skubal’s slider will be a sight to see every fifth day for Detroit.
After rolling up the double play mentioned in the first inning, Skubal was able to escape with only giving up one run. But after the escape, the Tigers young gun labored through the second, showing no ability to bounce back and throwing up a zero.
After a lead-off home run by Tim Anderson, Tarik Skubal did not throw one secondary pitch for a called strike. When he was able to hit the zone with his breaking balls, they were hit.
Final Thoughts on Skubal’s Debut
As far as debuts go, this will be one to forget for Skubal. The young lefty never had a chance to settle in after the lead-off home run. Obviously the White Sox line-up of eight right-handed bats did the young left-hander no favors. On top of the tough match-up of eight right-handers against the rookie lefty, the Sox have hit the best off the Tigers throughout the season. So write this one up as a tough match-up with some room to grow for Skubal. Stay tuned to watch this young left-handed fireballer, as he will be a key part of the Detroit Tiger rebuild.
Casey Mize’s Debut
After Skubal’s troubling start Tuesday, Tiger fans were delighted to see Mize come out and outperform expectations. In just 4-1/3 innings, Mize struck out seven White Sox hitters and did not walk any. The strikeout-to-walk of seven to zero is what you want to see out of a franchise-altering piece like Mize. Outside of the fifth inning where the Sox started to square him up a bit, Edwin Encarnacion was the only Chicago batter to put a run on the scoreboard through the first four frames with his second-inning home run.
Unlike Skubal, that was the only long-ball Mize gave up and was able to bounce back through the third and fourth inning. There is a lot to build off of after Mize’s debut start, and we take a look at what was solid, and what may need work.
Mize threw the splitter ten times in his first start, and it was only put in play once. Five of his splitters were swung on and missed at, three were balls, and one was fouled off. Similar to Skubal, Mize was not afraid to show off his bread-and-butter pitch in his debut. But the difference from Mize to Skubal was the success we saw with Mize’s splitter.
Unlike Skubal, Mize was able to avoid the snowball effect. After giving up the home run to Encarnacion, Nomar Mazara tacked on a double, but that did not phase the former first pick in the draft. Mize showed his ability to remain calm, bunker down and get the next three batters out to end the second inning.
Throwing Up a Zero after Taking the Lead
After taking the lead in the top of the fifth by way of a Jeimer Candelario three-run shot, Mize came out in the bottom half of the inning with a lead. But two RBI singles by the White Sox forced a call to the pen, and Mize’s day was over.
No run given up as a pitcher is a good run, but some hurt more than others. After taking the lead, throwing up a zero is a huge momentum swing. Mize was not able to capitalize. Now he is young, only 23 years old, and it was his debut start, so some of this is expected. But in what was an impressive performance from the rookie, I really had to nitpick to find some bad.
Final Thoughts on Mize’s Debut
Obviously Mize has the makings of an ace. He has the go-to pitch in his splitter, swing-and-miss stuff with some of his breaking pitches, and he has the velocity and composure to go along with it. However, there are parts of his game that need to be squared away before he becomes the ace us Tiger fans hope he will be. Obviously that will come with time, but I am loving what I saw out of the 2018 first pick.
Mize and Skubal are the Future
That is an obvious statement, but both rookies showed they are ready for big-league competition in their debut starts. Although Skubal struggled in his first start, he showed some good he could build off of. Also could probably chalk his struggles up to facing a hot right-hand heavy line-up. Mize on the other hand showed every Detroit fan what we wanted to see, the swings-and-misses, the composure, and the nasty split-fingered fastball. Like it or not folks, but Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are going to be the future of Detroit Tiger pitching. So buckle up, because these two are going to take us fans for a ride to the top!
STAY SAFE and GO TIGERS!
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