The Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers did not expect to be playing a meaningless series against each other in September, but both clubs are slogging through the final month toward the bottom of their respective divisions. The Blue Jays will at least try to bring some excitement to the home fans when they host the Tigers for the opener of a three-game series on Friday.
Toronto (64-76) made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons but sits in last place in the American League East and wasted a chance to play spoiler by dropping two of three to the East-leading Boston Red Sox this week. The Tigers won the AL Central four straight seasons (2011-2014) and finished in second in 2016, but finally started a rebuilding process with a series of trades and are losers of 17 of their last 23 games after getting pounded by the Kansas City Royals 13-2 on Wednesday. That marked the third time in the last six games that the Detroit staff surrendered double-digit runs. The Tigers will try to stop the bleeding behind right-hander Buck Farmer on Friday while the Blue Jays hope righty Marcus Stroman is able to take his turn in the rotation.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, Sportsnet (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Buck Farmer (3-2, 7.18 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.08)
Farmer does not seem to be a likely candidate to change Detroit’s pitching fortunes after getting knocked around for five runs on three hits and three walks over three innings against Cleveland last Friday. The 26-year-old was ripped for a total of 21 runs across 13 1/3 innings over his last four major-league outings, dating back to June 13. Farmer was pounded for six runs - five earned - and eight hits over four innings in his only career start against Toronto.
Stroman was hit on the elbow by a comebacker at Baltimore on Saturday and left the game in the second inning before undergoing x-rays that came back negative. The 26-year-old is scheduled to undergo more testing on Thursday before a final decision is made on his status for Friday’s opener. Stroman held Boston to one earned run in six innings during his last full start on Aug. 28 and did not factor in the decision in his lone previous start against Detroit despite scattering two runs and four hits over nine innings.
1. Tigers SS Jose Iglesias is away from the club on paternity leave and could miss the whole series.
2. Toronto DH Kendrys Morales is 3-for-29 in his last six games.
3. Detroit OF Alex Presley hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 8, Tigers 6