FanGraphs Live! Friday: MLB The Show, Tigers at Diamondbacks, 2 PM ET


In this week’s MLB The Show 20 stream, featuring Paul Sporer, Ben Clemens, and Dan Szymborski, Casey Mize gets his first major league start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, live from Digital Chase Field.

The Detroit Tigers aren’t going anywhere in 2020, as expected, and hold last place in the American League Central at 22-34. Casey Mize will make his first major league start in this game, facing the Arizona Diamondbacks (30-26), who are only 1 1/2 games back in an NL West that has been much milder than expected. Virtual Ron Gardenhire has been using Mize in the majors in the style of Earl Weaver, letting Mize pitch in long relief to get his feet wet. In 37 2/3 innings over 16 games, Mize has an ERA of 3.82 to go along with 38 strikeouts.

Despite Detroit’s record, the pitching has been a highlight — the team ranks fourth in the American League in ERA, with every starter except Michael Fulmer possessing an ERA under four. But outside of Joe Jiménez and Alex Wilson, the bullpen’s been full-throttle dumpster fire, full of ERAs above five. If you’re imagining the offense has been dreadful given the team’s record and solid rotation, you’d be imagining correctly; the Tiger offense is 28th in the league in runs scored, ahead of only the Mariners in the American League. The only offensive highlight has been the eight homers of JaCoby Jones. Miguel Cabrera’s not having a bounce-back season and if it weren’t for his status as a highly paid Tiger legend, his .229/.313/.309 line with just three homers would be putting his job at risk.

For the Diamondbacks, looking up at the Dodgers and Rockies (!) by slim margins, the last week has been a good one with series wins over the Cardinals and Padres. Luke Weaver (5-0, 3.98) has struggled with his control at times and currently has a walk rate approaching four, the worst rate in his young career in the majors. So far, Starling Marte’s been one of the best pickups of the offseason for any team, his .312/.389/.569 line good enough for 2.9 WAR. That’s nearly a win better than Mookie Betts, who was supposed to be the NL West’s big addition! Arizona’s a first-inning nightmare for any team, with Starling Marte, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and David Peralta, the first four hitters in the lineup, all currently sporting an OPS above .900.

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