Ron Gardenhire after Casey Mize struggles in home debut: “He’ll get there”

The Tigers rookie started strong but couldn't hold on in his home debut.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize had his first start at Comerica Park last night against the Chicago Cubs, and the rookie right-hander started strong. But as usually happens to a young player in just his second game of MLB action, a bit of a reality check set in.

Mize began strong in a 1-2-3 1st inning, striking out Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez and drawing praise from manager Ron Gardenhire.

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“That first inning, he’s done that his whole career,” Gardenhire said. “Just like that. Just bam, bam, bam, get ’em off the field.”

However, his momentum didn't last. He'd eventually surrender four home runs to the Chicago Cubs, who would triumph over Detroit by a 9-3 score in the first of their three game series.

“When he gets going, he’s not afraid to throw that fastball at any time,” Gardenhire said. “It’s just early in his career, and there’s a lot of really good hitters over there and you don’t want to make mistakes. But I think, ultimately, he’ll probably tell ya: ‘Needed to attack more and get some early outs to go deeper in the game.'”

The Tigers are now 11-16 on the season after starting a strong 9-5.

“I think the biggest learning thing for me is I threw a lot of stressful pitches tonight, and it just seemed like the more I was in that situation, the more I was gripping the ball and really tensing up, just really trying to do a lot,” Mize said afterwards. “I need to actually just settle down in those situations and be calm and actually do the opposite of just grip the baseball really hard and try to do a lot. In that situation, less is more.”

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The good news for Mize is that there's still plenty of time to learn and to take the strides to become the pitcher the team envisioned when they selected him 1st overall in the 2018 MLB Draft.

“He’ll get there,” Gardenhire said. “It takes time.”

– – Quotes via Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic Link – –

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