Tigers Notes: Detroit may be facing Toronto at wrong time
JUN 03, 2014 6:03p ET
The Tigers have won just four of their last 14 games while the Blue Jays have won 16 of their last 20.
"Well, you don't enjoy it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of the recent slide. "There's not many teams in the history of the game that don't go through it at some point in the course of the season. We certainly don't like the record, but we can't do anything about it now, so the goal is win tonight, and hopefully take the series."
Tuesday night will be strength against strength.
Starter Anibal Sanchez has not allowed a home run in 43 1/3 innings, the most for any pitcher who has not allowed a home run.
"He's a got a lot of weapons," Ausmus said. "He's got four pitches he can throw for strikes. They're all above average. Gives Alex (Avila) a lot to play with, when he's calling pitches. It causes a lot of problems for the hitter. It's tough to sit on a pitch, when there's four pitches he can throw for strikes, and they're all above-average."
The Blue Jays, on the other hand, lead the majors in home runs with 82. The Colorado Rockies are second with 73.
Although Max Scherzer is not pitching in this series, he knows what his teammates have to do.
"You gotta bring your 'A' game, everybody's gotta do their job," Scherzer said. "We can't make mental mistakes, you gotta do all the little things right. When you face a hot team, a team that's really swinging the bats, hitting the long ball, they're a very dangerous team and very good. They're obviously winning a bunch of ballgames because they have a ton of talent over there as well. If we're going to win this series -- and that needs to be our first and foremost goal -- we have to play good baseball for three games."
Like Ausmus, Scherzer isn't too worked up about the swoon the Tigers have been going through the last couple of weeks.
"It's part of the deal, we've all done it," Scherzer said. "Every year there's something like this. I swear, a couple years ago, you guys were complaining about us in April, how we were only .500 after the quarter-pole and yet we won by 15 games. So it really just doesn't faze us when we're in these streaks because we know how much talent's in this clubhouse and how good we are. That's not disrespect because we realize how tough this American League is and to win a game in this league is very tough.
"We respect everybody but we believe if we come out and bring our 'A' game, we're as good as any team in the American League."
The last time the Tigers and Blue Jays faced each other when both were leading their divisions was April 12, 2007.
DIRKS UPDATE/IGLESIAS UPDATE COMING SOON
Outfielder Andy Dirks, who underwent back surgery March 10, is increasing his activity.
"He's been swinging, and I think he ran today," Ausmus said. "I'm not sure if he ran the bases, but I'm pretty sure he ran today. So he's started running. Yesterday might have been the first day. So, he's progressing."
The original timetable was expected to be at least three months before Dirks could return.
"Things have gone well so far," Ausmus said. "Things can move relatively quickly once he can run the bases, and faces live BP, then it's just a matter of getting at-bats and getting some game time in left field."
As for shortstop Jose Iglesias, who has been out since spring training because of bilateral tibial stress fractures, there should be some news soon.
"He's not supposed to do anything right now," Ausmus said. "We should get an update on him here in the next 24 hours."