After Tommy John surgery set back his original timeline, Dane Dunning finally made his major league debut on Wednesday night. Dunning's long injury layoff might invite you to forget what kind of a player his is, but take a peek at Dunning's minor league numbers:
The Tigers also had a pretty important pitcher debut for them on Wednesday night, right-handed pitcher Casey Mize. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2018 flew through the Tigers system, quickly ascending to the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball according to MLB.com and numerous other outlets.
The Tigers are still early in their rebuild, but they have collected a number of young arms that should start to make AL Central teams worry a bit — if the franchise can build a team around them. Mize is far and away the most important piece of a young Tigers core trying to revitalize baseball in Detroit.
Welcome to the show, Casey
After pitching a clean first inning, Mize was officially welcomed to the majors by Edwin Encarnación after he demolished a homer to left in the second.
Encarnación hasn't looked like the dangerous hitter he's been throughout his career, but it's nice to know he can still teach these young-uns a thing or two about what life can be like in the major leagues when you leave pitches over the heart of the plate.
Encarnación homered again in the bottom of the eighth, supplying a big insurance run showing signs breaking out of his slump.
Mize had the eyes of baseball fans firmly planted on him coming into his debut Wednesday night, but Dunning showed off some of his own potential in his first crack at major league pitching.
Dunning looked completely unfazed as he trotted out to make his first career big-league start. So much so that it looked less like he had never faced major league hitting, and more like he'd been doing so for years.
He ran into some trouble in the fifth inning, giving up a three-run homer to Jeimer Candelario — barely eluding Adam Engel's glove, as it was — as rookie pitchers are prone to do. Even though he had to be relieved by Matt Foster in the fifth, Dunning delivered a promising first outing.
Dunning went 4 ⅓ innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out seven and walked only one batter.
All eyes on Mize
Mize is going to be a problem for not only the White Sox, but every team he faces throughout his career. He's got the size, stuff, and makeup of a clear-cut ace. Similar to Dunning, Mize was unable to escape the fifth inning, but put together a solid debut nonetheless.
Mize went 4 ⅓ innings, allowed three runs on seven hits, walked nobody and matched Dunning's strikeout total with seven.
Neither fan base is going to walk away from their new starting pitchers' first outings with anything but optimistic outlooks.
Right after Detroit took a 3-1 lead on Candelario's homer, the Sox rallied right back to tie it up in the bottom of the fifth. Zack Collins roped a double to right to start the inning, his first hit of 2020. After an Engel strikeout, Tim Anderson did what Tim Anderson has been doing a whole lot of lately, and got an RBI single. A wild pitch followed by a Yoán Moncada single tied the game 3-3.
It was a great sign to see the White Sox strike back so quickly after losing the lead. There have been some concerns about their offense's ability to generate runs beyond the homer, but the potential is still entirely there. On paper, this lineup looked like they'd never be out of a game coming into the season, and now they can start to make that a reality.
Abreu heating up?
José Abreu stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and untied the affair.
Over his last four games, Abreu is starting to turn the heat on, batting .437, with two home runs and five RBIs.
It was a fun night on the South Side, in what turned out to be a pretty enjoyable game from start to finish. We saw two supremely talented young starting pitchers make their debuts. The White Sox bullpen continued their excellence, tossing 4 ⅔ scoreless innings, including Alex Colomé earning his sixth save of the season. We also saw more dingers, which was especially comforting because it seemed the Sox saved all their home runs for games Janice covered.
The Sox are sending Lucas Gioltio to the mound to try and complete the four-game sweep tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. CT, facing up against Detroit righty Spencer Turnbull.