|10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, July 16, 2017
Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan Attendance: 37,173
Tigers' Sanchez hopes to continue turnaround vs. Jays
Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers
- The Blue Jays split a four-game series with the Astros in Toronto last weekend, the first home series they haven't lost since they split a two-game series with the Rays on June 13-14, going 4-9 at home since then, and 5-5 on the road.
- The Tigers won the third game of their series with the Indians on Sunday, avoiding a sweep. Their 39 pre-All-Star break wins are their fewest since 2003, when they had just 25.
- Since the start of the 2014 season, Toronto is 13-6 against Detroit, their best record against any AL team in that span. In those games, the Jays have outscored the Tigers by an average of 5.74 to 3.74.
- Aaron Sanchez allowed eight runs (five earned) in just 1.2 innings at home against the Astros on July 7, dropping to 0-2 on the season. It was his first start since May 19, after missing several weeks due to a finger laceration.
- Justin Verlander allowed just one run in 6.2 innings in Cleveland on July 8, but took the loss, falling to 5-6 this year. Verlander is 3-4 in his career against the Blue Jays, with one of the wins being one of his two career no-hitters (2011).
- Kevin Pillar has been great against the Tigers in his career, hitting .400 (20-for-50) in 15 career games against them. Only Yadier Molina (.406) and Matt Holliday (.403) have higher career batting averages against Detroit (minimum 40 PA).
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DETROIT -- Perhaps Marco Estrada can learn a thing or two from Anibal Sanchez.
Struggling Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Estrada, who takes the hill for in Sunday's finale of their three game series with the Detroit Tigers, faces Sanchez, who is writing quite a remarkable comeback story this season.
Things started so badly for Sanchez this season that he basically assigned himself to the minor leagues in late May.
"He accepted that assignment to go pitch in Toledo so he could take another shot at starting," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
So far, it's a move that is paying dividends for the 33-year-old right-hander.
In his most recent start, Sanchez (1-0, 5.89 ERA), gave up two runs on five hits in six innings against the San Francisco Giants, striking out eight and walking none to pick up his first win of the season.
It was his third quality start in four appearances since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo, and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in all four of those starts. Sanchez owns a 3.09 ERA over that span, striking out 22 while walking only eight in 23 1/3 innings.
"He's pitched pretty well," Ausmus said. "He's been throwing the ball well. He has a good changeup, and his velocity has been up to 93 (mph)."
It's an impressive turnaround for Sanchez. Working out of the bullpen to start the season and losing the spring-training battle for the fifth starter's spot to Matthew Boyd, Sanchez allowed 21 runs, with nine home runs among the 34 hits he surrendered, over 21 innings as a reliever before he was shipped to Toledo. But he's also struck out 22, and that encouraged the Tigers enough to give Sanchez, who led the AL with a 2.57 ERA in 2013, a chance to work out the kinks by returning to the starting rotation with Toledo.
Estrada (4-6, 5.17 ERA), an American League All-Star selection last season, is the one currently mired in a lengthy slump. He owns a 9.46 ERA over his past seven starts and has only made it through the sixth inning once during that span. In a more recent sample size, Estrada is 0-1 in his last three trips to the mound with a 6.19 ERA.
After losing Saturday's starter Francisco Liriano in the third inning because of neck stiffness, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons recognizes that another short outing from Estrada could really tax the Toronto bullpen, and he was already analyzing his options.
Well, we'd have (Lucas) Harrell," Gibbons said. "He'd be our long guy. We'd be OK. They're coming off an all-star break. It wouldn't be idea,l but we expect Marco to be good tomorrow.
"We need him to be."
Estrada is 1-0 lifetime against the Tigers.
Detroit has won only two of its last seven games versus Toronto, but a victory Sunday would give the Tigers their third successive series triumph over the Blue Jays at Comerica Park.
Updated July 16, 2017