(Sports Network) - Just a week ago Detroit completed a three-game sweep of the
Chicago White Sox at home, but since then the Tigers have been losing ground
to the Sox in the standings and find themselves 2 1/2 games out of first
Today, they attempt to salvage the final game of a three-game set versus the
Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Last week at this time Detroit was celebrating a five-game win streak and was
eight games over .500, but that seems like a long ago now that the club has
bowed in three straight and four of the last five contests to fall off the
pace in the American League Central.
Making his first appearance as a member of the Tigers after being traded from
Miami, Anibal Sanchez didn't get off to the sort of start he was hoping for on
Saturday afternoon, giving up as many home runs (three) as he had strikeouts
in the 5-1 road loss.
Sanchez made it through six innings, surrendered five runs on eight hits and
three walks as he assumed defeat.
The Tigers offense didn't help much at all as they delivered just five total
hits, two by Brennan Boesch who knocked in the only run of the game for the
visitors in the fourth inning.
"This game is tough sometimes, you just have to keep battling through," said
Boesch. "You would like to be more consistent and maybe make the tough
stretches shorter, but we are a good team and will just continue to play hard
every day and see what happens."
Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion and Yunel Escobar all left the yard for the
Jays, with Rasmus knocking in three on the day. Brett Lawrie and Yan Gomes
both recorded a pair of hits in the victory as well.
Henderson Alvarez gave up just the one run to the Tigers through seven innings
of work, allowing a total of five hits and a couple of walks, while striking
out four as he moved to an even 7-7 on the campaign.
"I felt great," said Alvarez. "All of my pitches were down in the zone, and
every pitch that I threw was working today."
"I was really impressed with him -- he has a real live arm," Tigers manager
Jim Leyland said about Alvarez. "Looks like he might be a little erratic at
times, but he has a good sinker, good velocity. He was impressive. I liked him
a lot, he has good stuff."
With the win on Saturday the Blue Jays have run their current win streak to
three in a row and have posted victories in six of the last eight outings, but
still the club is a mere two games over .500 on the season and in fourth place
in the AL East standings, nine games behind the New York Yankees.
Having won only once since June 18, Brett Cecil tries to get back on track as
he takes the mound for the Jays this afternoon. The left-hander, now in his
fourth major league campaign, has dropped his last two outings even though he
has been rather efficient for the Jays in those contests.
Most recently Cecil was on the hill against Oakland on Tuesday, permitting
just two runs on five hits and a couple of walks, while striking out eight
over six innings, but still Toronto suffered a 7-2 loss at home to the A's.
Cecil has made just one previous appearance against Detroit in his career,
allowing two runs on six hits over seven innings and again failing to earn a
As for the Tigers, they have Doug Fister preparing to take the ball to close
out the series today. The right-hander, who has a career mark of 0-2 versus
Toronto and is a mere 1-5 on the road in 2012, had a personal three-game win
streak snapped on Tuesday when he suffered the loss versus Cleveland.
Against the Tribe, Fister gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk, struck
out four through seven innings and actually lowered his season ERA to 4.03 as
Detroit absorbed the 3-2 setback.
Toronto, a team which is second in the AL in home runs (145) and third in
slugging (.439), has already matched its win total from all of last season
against the Tigers when Detroit took four of the six matchups.
The Sports Network