One of the players the Detroit Tigers acquired last week is having some trouble adjusting to the American League. They’re hoping that won’t be the case for the other player they got in that deal.
Detroit (53-47) got Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante from Miami on Monday for pitcher Jacob Turner and a pair of minor leaguers. Infante has gotten his second stint with the Tigers off to a slow start, generating two singles in 14 at-bats after hitting .287 in 85 games with the Marlins.
While the second baseman tries to find his way, Sanchez will seek a better start in his first game as an AL pitcher following six-plus seasons in Miami.
“He’s been one of the more consistent pitchers in baseball,” Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski told the team’s website. “He feels great, he has quality stuff and he gives us a chance to have five established Major League starters.”
Detroit hasn’t gotten enough out of starting pitchers lately as they’ve posted a 5.00 ERA while dropping three of four. Those losses have taken the Tigers from a one-game lead atop the AL Central to a 1 1/2-game deficit behind the Chicago White Sox.
Rick Porcello gave up five runs during an 8-3 loss in Friday’s series opener, while Jeff Mathis had a season-high three RBIs while extending an eight-game hit streak for Toronto (50-49). Travis Snider added his third homer in seven games since being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas.
“Me and (hitting coach Dwayne Murphy) have been working on some things, making some adjustments, and I’m starting to feel more comfortable at the plate and more confident,” Mathis told the team’s website.
Miguel Cabrera hit his fifth home run in eight games for the Tigers, who have been held to 13 runs in their last four games while batting .189 (7 for 37) with runners in scoring position.
“We haven’t swung the bats good the last few days,” manager Jim Leyland said. “We didn’t swing the bats good in Cleveland and we didn’t swing the bats good again here tonight.”
Sanchez will try to help the Tigers get back on track by avoiding a repeat of his only other start versus Toronto. He gave up six runs, seven hits and four walks over 3 1-3 innings in a 12-5 defeat in Miami on June 22. The right-hander is 3-5 with a 4.42 ERA in 12 career starts against AL teams.
His counterpart in Saturday’s game, Henderson Alvarez (6-7, 4.61), will try to lead Toronto to its sixth win in eight contests by producing a better outing than he did Sunday in Boston.
The right-hander gave up a career-high seven runs over 5 2-3 innings but picked up his third win in five starts with a 15-7 victory.
Alvarez has never faced the Tigers.