American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 28th
(All times eastern)
Detroit Tigers (53-47) at Toronto Blue Jays (50-49), 1:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Anibal Sanchez (5-7, 3.94)
Toronto - Henderson Alvarez (6-7, 4.61)
(Sports Network) - Pummeled by Oakland in a 16-0 decision on Wednesday at
home, the Toronto Blue Jays have responded by putting up back-to-back wins and
are aiming for their sixth victory in the last eight outings this afternoon
when they entertain the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre.
Toronto, which has scored more runs (496) than any other team in the American
League heading into the weekend, delivered eight on just nine hits in a
five-run victory over Detroit on Friday to kick off the three-game series.
Jeff Mathis drove in three of those runs with a bases-clearing double and
Travis Snider plated a pair as he delivered his third home run of the season
for a Toronto squad which is fourth in the American League East standings and
just one game over .500 altogether.
Despite hitting just .217 on the season, even 45-year old Omar Vizquel got in
on the action with his first extra base hits (a double and a triple) of the
campaign, knocking in one run and scoring another.
Carlos Villanueva was credited with the win, his sixth in as many decisions
this season, as he gave up two runs on four hits and a couple of walks. The
right-hander lowered his season ERA to just 2.92 as he struck out three over
five innings of action.
"(Bench coach Don) Wakamatsu said it best, I felt like a magician out there
today," Villanueva said. "Pulling all the tricks out. I know some starts are
going to be that way, probably more than I want to during the course of a
season, but it worked. I'd rather have it that way than having to go to the
bullpen a lot earlier. I'll take it as a positive and get ready for the next
Taking the loss was Rick Porcello who was charged with five runs on six hits
and a couple of walks, fanning only one batter through six innings.
Offensively the Tigers managed eight hits, one fewer than they had strikeouts
thanks to Jhonny Peralta who fanned three times in four at-bats. In an effort
to keep Detroit in the mix, Miguel Cabrera notched his 25th home run of the
season and Prince Fielder belted his 16th long ball but it wasn't enough as
the Tigers suffered their second straight setback and the third in four tries.
Detroit, which is seventh in the AL with a respectable 3.98 team ERA, is now 1
1/2 games behind Chicago for first place in the AL Central.
Since breaking into the majors in 2006 with the Marlins, Anibal Sanchez has
spent his career over in the National League, but he will now start life as an
American League hurler as he deals against the Jays this afternoon.
The right-hander was 5-7 with Miami this season before being acquired by
Detroit on Monday. A game under .500 for his career (44-45), Sanchez last
pitched on Sunday at Pittsburgh where he allowed three runs on seven hits and
struck out eight without walking a single batter through seven innings, yet he
still was saddled with the loss.
Sanchez, who is 0-1 with a massive 16.20 ERA in his career against Toronto,
has just two victories since the end of May.
As for the Jays, they too have penciled in a starter who is under .500 this
season, opting to give the ball to Henderson Alvarez. However, in the case of
Alvarez, he won his most recent outing last weekend versus Boston and has
captured three victories in his last four decisions.
Against the Red Sox, the right-hander was tabbed for seven earned runs on
eight hits, walked one and struck out two through 5 2/3 innings. As bad as
that might sound, Alvarez still ended up with the victory in order to move to
6-7 on the campaign overall.
While the addition of Fielder to the Detroit lineup was supposed to bring more
power to the lineup, the slugger has been slow to acclimate himself in new
surroundings. Although, Fielder is hitting .311 over the course of 100 games,
well ahead of his career average of .285.
Instead of Fielder, the one doing the majority of the damage on offense for
the Tigers is Cabrera who is among the league leaders in home runs and RBI and
has now connected on at least 25 homers in each of the last nine campaigns.
07/28 10:20:50 ET