Detroit Tigers: Why Saturday Wasn’t the Right Time for Casey Mize

DETROIT, MI - JULY 14: Casey Mize #74 of the Detroit Tigers looks on and smiles during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 14, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 14: Casey Mize #74 of the Detroit Tigers looks on and smiles during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 14, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers fans have been clamoring for a Casey Mize call-up, but there is reason why Saturday was not the big day

Heading into the season, I was of the opinion that the Detroit Tigers would do everything in their power to protect their top pitching prospects from reaching the major leagues. The season has a funny way of changing that, though. Everyone believes Casey Mize should be with the club now; especially since service time is no longer a concern–although there still is a super-two caveat outlined nicely by Chris Brown here.

The starting rotation has dealt with a combination of injuries and poor performance this season. Dario Agrizal, Jordan Zimmermann, and Ivan Nova have now all found the injured list, Tyler Alexander struggled in his first start, Matthew Boyd has a 10.24 ERA, and the team does not seem to be convinced that Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris are ready for a full starter’s workload yet. With such surprises, it is difficult to understand how the Detroit Tigers have been able to possibly dodge bringing up its polished top pitching prospect.

While I am certainly of the opinion that Mize should be here and in the rotation now, there are legitimate reasons why his call up did not happen on Saturday.

Nova’s Turn in the Rotation

Ivan Nova’s trip to the injured list on Saturday was announced just a day after his start on Friday night. With Spencer Turnbull scheduled to start Saturday and Michael Fulmer Scheduled to start on Sunday, there was no real point in bringing up Mize any sooner to simply sit around for a few days.

Despite the expanded rosters, the bullpen has been taxed due to starters not being able to go deep into games. Daniel Norris pitched on Friday because of the injured Nova’s 3.1-inning start, making him unavailable for a piggyback partner on Sunday for Fulmer. Additionally, Turnbull was only able to last 4.2 innings his start on Saturday, so having the extra bullpen arm for the weekend is proving valuable should Ron Gardenhire run short on players.

Casey Mize’s Schedule

As important as it is to line up Mize with the Detroit Tigers’ pitching schedule, he has been on his own throwing program in Toledo at the club’s alternate training site for their taxi squad. Interestingly enough, it sounds like Mize just so happens to be on the same schedule as the freshly-injured Ivan Nova:

Being his outing in Toledo was shortened by rain would ensure he would be fresh for either Tuesday or Wednesday, which as of Saturday night still show as “TBD” for probable starters. Matthew Boyd is likely to start on Monday since it would be regular rest for him, then possibly Norris on Tuesday–which, while it would be short rest technically for a starter, should be plenty of time considering he only worked 1.2 innings on Friday. This would leave Mize for Wednesday pitching on normal rest to make his major league debut against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

We all agree that Mize should be up and any reason given by GM Al Avila is hiding behind the fact that the team does not want to pay Mize any sooner than they have to in hopes of keeping him for an extra season. However, while Mize should have been up already, I do understand why Saturday was not Casey Mize Day. Cross your fingers for the middle of the week, Detroit Tigers fans.