Casey Mize gets nine strikeouts in Detroit Tigers’ tie with Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, Florida – The Detroit Tigers drew the Toronto Blue Jays 3-3 at TD Ballpark on Thursday and remain in the Grapefruit League 10-11.

What happened

Right-handed Casey Mize, fighting for space in the starting rotation, hit nine over four innings to open the game. The 24-year-old allowed two deserved runs with five hits and no walks and threw 72 pitches. He threw 55 strikes and got on strike for nine of his first 10 outs. Right-handed Michael Fulmer threw the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings. His performance was goalless until the Blue Jays took a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning. Fulmer got seven strikes and his sinker averaged 93.9 mph, a small increase from his previous outings. In the ninth inning, catcher Eric Haase, who lost the backup job Thursday morning, knocked down his third home run this spring. It was a playful solo shot on left field.

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Start up

Mize made good use of all five of its parking spaces, generating 13 swings-and-misses and 12 so-called strikes. He threw 24 sinkers, 21 sliders, 13 four-seamed fastballs, nine splinters, and five curveballs. He got a whiff of four of his offerings: sinker (three), slider (six), four-seater (one) and splitter (three). He increased his fastball by four seams, which averaged 96.3 mph and 97.9 mph. He allowed the Blue Jays to pollute 21 fields, but he was good enough to end up fooling most of his opponents. (For example, he allowed Cavan Biggio a 12-pitch single in the first inning.) Even when Mize got into trouble – such as three consecutive hits for two runs in the fourth inning – he continued to hit the strike zone.

On the plate

The Tigers amassed nine hits to score three runs, draw two walks, and hit eight times. JaCoby Jones, who made a mistake in the warning lane in the left field, went out to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third field. Jeimer Candelario added an RBI groundout in the sixth inning to even the 2-2 result. Victor Reyes ended the 2v2 with a walk. Top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene got bats. Greene struck twice and Torkelson struck once. Rule 5 Draft Pick Akil Baddoo struck in his lonely record appearance. Haase crashed a 402-foot home run to left field with an exit speed of 110 mph.

Detroit Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones (21) will face an outfield pick in the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, March 25, 2021 during spring practice at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla.

On the hill

Right-handed Joe Jimenez threw a scoreless fifth inning. He put on two runners – Bo Bichette’s double and Teoscar Hernandez’s walk – but worked out of the traffic jam. With two runners in goal position, he got Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to fly to the right. Trying to get back to the starting rotation, Fulmer knocked out seven batters in four innings. He allowed three hits and one step to run. His slider earned him 10 of his 12 swings-and-misses. Fulmer used 75 parking spaces (55 fields). He knocked out Tyler White with a slider in the middle of a 10-pitch bat game to end the game.

Three stars

1. Mize, 2. Reyes, 3. Fulmer.

Next up

Friday versus Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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