Tigers' Casey Mize battles to his first win in nearly three years

Pitcher wins aren't everything, but for Casey Mize it's a milestone on the other side of a lengthy return from Tommy John surgery
Apr 21, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize (12) throws to
Apr 21, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize (12) throws to / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

August 24, 2021. That was almost exactly 32 months ago. That was the date of Casey Mize's last major league win before Sunday's 6-1 Tigers victory against the Twins.

During the time in between, Mize battled his body, undergoing both Tommy John surgery and a back surgery.

Sunday he threw six shutout innings, bringing his ERA down to 2.95 in the process. He has 16 strikeouts and six walks allowed in 21-1/3 innings, along with 20 hits.

The important part, though, is the Tigers have not lost a game that Mize has started this season. They're 4-0 in those starts, though Mize only gets credit for the win in the last one. Mize said as nice as getting his first win in several years sounds, pitcher wins don't matter to him that much as long as the team picks up the win.

"I always want the guys to think we can win when I pitch," he told reporters in a postgame scrum. "I think that's the goal of every starter. The team scoring early really reminded me to have confidence in them and try to shove the ball in the strike zone."

Mize worked a fastball that went up to near 98 mph and threw 14 of the fastest 15 pitches in the game. Just one of those resulted in a Twins baserunner. Mize said he felt like his slider was a bit more of a struggle. He got called strikes on it six times in 22 pitches, but not a single whiff on the pitch.

"I left a few arm side. They were called strikes, but I left them arm side. I wasn't executing them as much as I'd have liked. My stuff wasn't great, but 'compete' was the biggest word for the day. I was trying to get outs with what I had."

Only a home run to lead off the ninth inning allowed by Alex Faedo kept the Tigers from adding a third shutout to their season total

The Tigers have gone 4-3 against the Twins so far and 7-3 in the AL Central Division. They have a winning record in both 1-run games and blowouts (defined as 5+ runs difference.) And they're 8-3 on the road. All good signs early, though you'd like to see them have a few more games like Sunday's.