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Tigers’ Casey Mize makes long-awaited home start vs. Rangers

Casey Mize hasn’t pitched in front of his home fans for more than two years. That will change on Tuesday afternoon when the Detroit Tigers right-hander starts the second contest of the three-game series against the Texas Rangers.

Mize (0-0, 4.82 ERA) has made two road starts this season since completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery, which cost him most of the 2022 season and the entire 2023 campaign.

Mize allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings to the New York Mets in his season debut on April 4. He limited the Pittsburgh Pirates to two runs and five hits in five innings on April 9.

Mize, the top overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Auburn, is throwing harder than ever. He reached 98 mph with his fastball against the Pirates but still recorded only two strikeouts.

“The game plan was to use the fastball a lot,” Mize said. “I don’t think I used it enough in my first start. They were pretty comfortable on fastballs out over the plate, and that’s why I didn’t get as many swings and misses as I would have liked.”

Mize, who is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers, plans to keep firing away.

“It’s a good pitch for me,” he said. “I like the 98, but the location could be better. I feel like an executed fastball at 95 mph can be as good as just throwing 98. But it’s a great sign to know my body is in a good position to do that.”

Mize hasn’t pitched a regular-season contest at Detroit’s Comerica Park since April 9, 2022. His last pitching win came on Aug. 24, 2021, when he tossed five shutout innings on the road against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Jon Gray (0-1, 4.38 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season for the Rangers. The right-hander turned in his best outing the last time out, when he held the Oakland A’s to one run and three hits in five innings while notching nine strikeouts on Thursday.

Gray was a hard-luck loser in that game, as the Rangers were blanked 1-0 while managing just one hit. The only run came on Seth Brown’s second-inning homer.

“I don’t really want to sit and think about one mistake, but that’s really what it was. It was one mistake,” Gray said. “I feel like other than that, we had a good game plan going. We were attacking. It was just one mistake (Thursday). I’ll try to flush that and think about the things that I can do to make it better.”

Gray pitched seven scoreless innings in his only career start against Detroit, on June 17, 2022.

The Rangers pulled out a 1-0 win in the series opener on Monday night as four pitchers combined on a five-hitter. It was Texas’ first shutout of the season.

Texas scored its lone run on Marcus Semien’s fielder’s-choice grounder in the fifth inning. Jonah Heim had two hits and scored the only run.

“Not quite clicking offensively, so we needed the pitching to step up, and they did it in a big way today,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said.

–Field Level Media

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