Blue Jays-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

The Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays didn't get Cy Young-caliber performances in their previous games, but they haven't given their aces much room for error.

Perhaps they can provide their No. 2 starters better support.

Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez will try to help the Tigers win a fifth in a row in this series on Tuesday when Brandon Morrow takes the hill for a Blue Jays team also coming off a shutout loss.

With Justin Verlander trying to give Detroit (3-3) a third consecutive victory, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner went 7 1/3 shaky innings in Sunday's 7-0 loss to the New York Yankees. The Tigers have scored four times in his two starts.

"You get all those hits yesterday (a season-high 17 in an 8-4 win) and you come back out today and that's why I always emphasize how pitching normally dictates everything," manager Jim Leyland told the TIgers' official website.

That's exactly why the Blue Jays (2-4) retooled their rotation this offseason, with Morrow (0-0, 1.50 ERA) and J.A. Happ their only returning starters. The acquisition of 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from New York has yet to pay off, with the club 0-2 in his starts following Sunday's 13-0 loss to Boston. The knuckleballer has surrendered 10 runs, but the Blue Jays have plated one in his outings.

They're batting .223 overall.

"We have a lot of confidence in this ballclub, and like I said, we're going to be fine," Jose Reyes told the Blue Jays' official website. "So there's nothing to worry about."

That's easy for Reyes to say - the former NL batting champ sports a .435 average with one homer and two doubles. It's a different story with Edwin Encarnacion and Colby Rasmus, who are a combined 5 for 41 with 16 strikeouts.

Rasmus might start in center fielder after sitting Sunday.

Jose Bautista could also return to Toronto's lineup after missing three games with a sore right ankle. He could DH on Tuesday, giving Rajai Davis another start in right field.

Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter, the team leader among regulars with a .393 batting average, has three consecutive multihit games and five this season.

Hunter, though, was 4 for 24 last season against Toronto while with the Los Angeles Angels. He's 4 for 13 against Morrow, who'll make his first start against Detroit in two seasons after striking out eight in six strong innings of Wednesday's 3-2 loss to Cleveland.

Reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera has one hit - a homer - in five at-bats off the right-hander. Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder, the team leader with two homers and eight RBIs, has never faced Morrow.

Sanchez (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start at Comerica Park since a 2-0 loss to San Francisco in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series. The right-hander opened his first full season with the Tigers on Wednesday with five innings of shutout ball in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota.

"We stuck to the game plan as far as trying to mix pitches and change speeds,'' said catcher Alex Avila, who could start Tuesday after missing Sunday's game due to the birth of his daughter. "I think as the game went on he got better.''

Sanchez went 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in two starts versus Toronto after being acquired from Miami on July 23.

Detroit has won four straight and eight of 11 at home in this series.

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