Detroit — In the end, the weather and the never-relenting COVID-19 scare made the decision on calling up No. 1 prospect Casey Mize a little easier for the Tigers.
The rain postponed the Tigers-Reds game on Saturday. The teams are scheduled to play two seven-inning games on Sunday, though rain is again in the forecast.
The Tigers had not announced their Sunday starter until the game Saturday was postponed. Left-hander Daniel Norris will be summoned from the taxi squad and is slated to pitch the second game.
Rule 5 rookie Rony Garcia will start in the first game. Michael Fulmer, who was supposed to start Saturday, was fully warmed up and ready to go when the rains started about eight minutes before first pitch.
That decision infuriated Reds starter Trevor Bauer, who voiced his displeasure on Twitter:
“Postpone the game before starters start throwing or play through it. You can’t postpone a game 8 minutes before it’s supposed to start. Just because it’s a shortened season doesn’t mean you can change all the rules all of a sudden. Figure it the f*** out. First you move the damn game up 5 hours the day before. Then you let starters get hot for the game and then delay it 8 minutes before game time.
“Never in my ten year career have I seen something so amateur. Not in the minor leagues. Not in the big leagues. Never saw it even in college.”
It is unclear whether the Tigers will use Fulmer in a piggy-back role or just skip his start.
Manager Ron Gardenhire hinted before the game that Mize had been discussed as an option to start on Sunday. But, again, the weather and the virus conspired against it.
The Sunday forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain. On top of that, another St. Louis Cardinals player tested positive for the virus Saturday, bringing the count to three. Their last two games in Milwaukee were canceled.
Later Saturday night, the league rearranged the Tigers-Cardinals series, canceling the game Monday and scheduling all four games at Comerica Park Tuesday, Wednesday (doubleheader) and Thursday.
The two teams were originally scheduled to play in St. Louis Wednesday and Thursday.
“That’s kind of why we’re not making any announcement,” Gardenhire said. “We’re on a day-to-day basis here. We have to make sure everything is OK before we make the announcement.”
The last thing the Tigers would want is for Mize to come up and sit for 10 days, or, worse, to have to bounce up and down between Detroit and Toledo. The hope is that when he gets called up, he will be here to stay.
Norris, who missed all of summer camp after testing positive for COVID-19, was expected to rejoin the rotation at some point this week. He was expected to pitch one more time in Toledo, but circumstances forced the Tigers to bring him back early.