Questions arose when Toronto right-hander Jesse Litsch spent time late in spring training pitching against minor leaguers.
On Wednesday night, though, there will be no question whether the Blue Jays’ No. 3 starter will be prepared to take the mound at Rogers Centre against the Detroit Tigers as Toronto goes for its first 3-0 start since 1996.
“I’m ready to roll,” Litsch told the Blue Jays’ official Web site following his final spring start.
Litsch (13-9, 3.58 ERA) takes the mound for the first time since a 10-4 spring training victory over Florida on Friday, when he allowed six hits, four walks and two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
“I feel like I’ve done it the right way, and if he gets off to a bad start, it’s not because we pitched him in minor league games,” said Toronto pitching coach Brad Arnsberg.
In his only other career start against the Tigers, Litsch failed to get a decision in a 5-1 loss on Aug. 14 after striking out three and allowing four hits in seven innings.
Miguel Cabrera went 1-for-3 against Litsch in that matchup as the Tigers salvaged the final game of the four-game set.
Cabrera is 4-for-6 with a double in 2009 as Detroit has dropped two in a row - still far from the 0-7 start last season when the Tigers finished an AL Central-worst 74-88.
“This is not what to expect during the year for anyone watching on the outside,” said Brandon Inge, whose ninth-inning solo homer on Tuesday tied it at 4. “This is more of a fluke, last year was more of habit. You won’t see this that much. We’re too good of a ballclub with too good of an attitude for this to happen on a daily basis.”
Inge is 3-for-8 with two homers and three RBIs in the first two games of the series. He is hitless in two career at-bats against Litsch, but reached once on a hit-by-pitch.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland will hope to get a similar outing from Zach Miner on Wednesday as he did from first-year Tiger Edwin Jackson, who went 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday while allowing just two hits and one earned run.
Leyland said Miner “did a good job” but “strayed a little bit” in last Friday’s 3-1 spring training loss to Atlanta.
Miner (8-5, 4.27) appeared in 45 games last season, but was converted into a starter in late July when the Tigers needed one at the back end of the rotation. The right-hander went 5-2 with a 4.30 ERA in 13 starts in 2008, including a no-decision on Aug. 12 when he struck out five and allowed just one run in six innings in a 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays.
Miner is 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA in five career appearances against the Blue Jays. This will be his first start in Toronto since picking up the win in a 5-3 victory on June 10, 2006.
After going 4-for-5 with six RBIs in Monday’s 12-5 season-opening win, designated hitter Adam Lind went 0-for-3 Tuesday. Lind, though, drew a one-out walk in the ninth that preceded Rod Barajas’ game-winning sacrifice fly.