Maroth takes the mound for the Tigers as they begin a three-game series with the Blue Jays.
Maroth went 1-4 in August to drop to 6-19 for the season. With a loss on Friday, Maroth will become the majors’ first 20-game loser since Brian Kingman went 8-20 for Oakland in 1980.
Tigers manager Alan Trammell is trying to downplay Maroth’s chances of losing 20.
“To people in baseball, this isn’t that big a deal,” Trammell said. “It is the media that is paying so much attention to what is happening with Mike.”
Like his manager, Maroth is trying to downplay the significance of losing 20, choosing to think of it as a one-time thing.
“I’m going to be pitching for a long time,” he said. “Hopefully, this is a year that I will never have to go through again and I believe that I won’t.
“If you look at the overall team record, it’s been a bad year for the whole team. You just have to get through it so that we can move forward.”
The punchless Tigers need at least six wins in their final 23 games to avoid matching the modern day record of 120 losses in a season, set by the 1962 New York Mets.
Detroit is riding a three-game winning streak for the first time since taking three straight from the Chicago White Sox from July 8-10.
Toronto has won four of its last six overall.
STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 36 GB, AL Central. Blue Jays - 3rd place, 14 1/2 GB, AL East.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Maroth (6-19, 5.42 ERA). Maroth has fared a little better on the road than at home, going 5-8 with a 5.66 ERA. The southpaw had a 5.70 ERA in August.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Mark Hendrickson (8-9, 5.36 ERA). Hendrickson escaped without a decision in his last outing despite allowing three runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings as Toronto suffered a 5-4 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. The southpaw went 2-1 with a 5.08 ERA in six August starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Dmitri Young, .294 avg., 28 HRs, 73 RBIs and 70 runs; Alex Sanchez, 32 SBs. Blue Jays - Vernon Wells, .313 avg.; Carlos Delgado, 34 HRs and 123 RBIs; Wells and Delgado, 103 runs; Eric Hinske, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tigers, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - LHP Maroth is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in two career starts against Toronto. … Detroit could have the first pair of 20-game losers since 1973 when Wilbur Wood and Stan Bahnsen did so for the Chicago White Sox. RHP Jeremy Bonderman is 6-18 on the year and could rejoin the rotation next week. … The Tigers are last in the AL with 494 runs scored. Blue Jays - Manager Carlos Tosca said RHP Josh Towers will start this Sunday against Detroit. … 1B Delgado leads the AL with 123 RBIs. … OF Wells is tied for third in the AL with 103 runs scored.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 18-51 on the road; Blue Jays - 31-37 at home.