After watching his team lay an egg to kick off the start of the second half, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus called a meeting prior to Saturday’s matchup against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. The Tigers responded with their highest offensive output in a month and will go for a series win in Sunday’s finale of the three-game set versus Toronto.
While Ausmus declined to provide details on the meeting, he was quick to mention that former Detroit manager “Jim Leyland is the one who said, ‘If you find a team that has a lot of meetings, it’s probably not a real good team.'” The big bats for the Tigers produced as J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera each had three hits and a homer, with Martinez accounting for five RBIs. The Blue Jays failed to build on Friday’s 7-2 series opening win, managing only two hits and needing to use their bullpen for six innings after Francisco Liriano exited early with neck stiffness. Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada, who is winless since May 27, will make his second career start against Detroit when he opposes Anibal Sanchez.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, TVA Sports (Toronto), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Marco Estrada (4-6, 5.17 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 5.89)
Estrada won his last two starts in May, striking out 20 and giving up two runs over 13 2/3 innings, but his season has taken a downward turn. The 34-year-old failed to get through five innings for the fifth time in his last seven starts last time out, giving up six runs and four walks over 4 2/3 innings versus the New York Yankees. Estrada is 0-4 with a bloated 9.46 ERA during a seven-start winless drought.
Sanchez had a 9.00 ERA in mid-May when he was banished to the minors after making 11 appearances - all in relief - but he has come alive since joining the rotation upon his recall. The 33-year-old earned his first win of the season with his third consecutive quality start, limiting San Francisco to two runs over six innings last time out. Sanchez has held All-Star Justin Smoak hitless in 13 at-bats.
1. Cabrera tied George Brett (1,596) for 37th on the all-time RBI list.
2. Blue Jays 2B Ryan Goins is 0-for-10 in his last three games to drop his batting average to .200.
3. Martinez’s three-run homer ended a nine-game drought without a blast.
PREDICTION: Tigers 7, Blue Jays 5