Blue Jays-Tigers Preview
TORONTO -- The Detroit Tigers had decent starts from Justin Verlander and Mike Pelfrey in the first two games against the Toronto Blue Jays and lost both of them.
Now they go with Plan B for the final two games of the series that leads into the All-Star break.
The Tigers recalled left-hander Matt Boyd from Triple-A Toledo to start Saturday and right-hander Anibal Sanchez will make his 14th start and 22nd outing of the season on Sunday.
With injuries to Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris, the Tigers left the spots for the final two starts open until after the 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.
"Truthfully," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "there weren't a lot of options."
Boyd, who was traded to the Tigers last July in the deal that made David Price a Blue Jay for the final two months of the season, will be making his second start of the season against his former team.
The game Saturday will be a rematch of the June 7 game at Comerica Park when he faced right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who will again be his mound opponent.
"Matt Boyd has pitched well up here before, and Sanchie has been a big-league pitcher at the big-league level for decades." Ausmus said. "We need them to pitch well and hope our offense kicks back into gear tomorrow."
Boyd is 0-2 with a 6.44 ERA in six games, including five starts with the Tigers this season. He is 2-5 with a 2.25 ERA with Toledo.
He pitched well against Toronto at Comerica Park and so did Sanchez, although neither factored in the decision in the game won 3-2 by the Tigers in 10 innings.
"The big thing for (Boyd) is he's attacking the strike zone," Tigers catcher James McCann said. "When he's going good, he's getting early contact and he's getting weak contact. He's utilizing all of his off-speed stuff -- slider, curveball and changeup. Not falling in love with one of them. And moving his fastball, really north and south. I think that's the kind of guy he needs to be."
Sanchez, in his only career starts against the Tigers, struck out 12 in eight-plus innings in allowing three hits and two runs.
Boyd allowed three hits, five walks and one run in 5 1/3 innings in that game. He struck out five.
The Blue Jays are using an 11-game homestand to go into the All-Star break on a high note. They have won seven games in a row.
The Tigers are 5-4 on their 11-game road trip leading to the break. They opened the trip with a four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Blue Jays infielder Darwin Barney, who has a seven-game hit streak, says the recent surge is because of the pitching. The starters have been strong for most of the season but now the bullpen is showing improvement.
"It's all attributable to our starting pitching and our bullpen coming into form," Barney said. "You can't win a lot of ballgames without good pitching and we've had that the past week or two. We're giving ourselves opportunities, we left some runners in scoring position early in the game (Friday), but like Tulo (shortstop Troy Tulowitzki) said, we don't really worry about that, we're eventually going to come through if we keep getting those chances in the game."