Blue Jays-Tigers Preview
It's been a tough couple weeks for the Detroit Tigers. It could get even worse with two games Sunday.
The injury-ravaged Tigers close out their seven-game homestand Sunday with a day-night doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Since leading the AL Central by one-half game July 10, the Tigers (50-45) have dropped eight of 10 to fall into third place, 2 1/2 games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox.
In the past six days, Brandon Inge (broken left hand), Magglio Ordonez (fractured right ankle) and Carlos Guillen (right calf strain) have all suffered injuries. Inge is on the 15-day disabled list, Ordonez could miss up to eight weeks after getting hurt while sliding home in Saturday's 3-2 loss, and Guillen is day-to-day.
"This is part of the game, and no one is going to feel sorry for us,'' manager Jim Leyland said. "You always get tested in this game, and this is a test. We have to go out, play our butts off and see how many games we can win.''
Detroit could win two Sunday after Friday's game was postponed due to rain.
The Tigers will give the ball to Armando Galarraga (3-3, 4.50 ERA) in Game 1. The right-hander allowed four runs and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings of Tuesday's 8-0 loss to AL West-leading Texas.
Galarraga, who is 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA in seven starts since his near-perfect game June 2 against Cleveland, is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA in two career starts versus Toronto. He threw eight innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 win over the visiting Blue Jays on Aug. 14, 2008.
Toronto (49-48) counters with Brett Cecil (8-5, 3.99), who will face the Tigers for the first time. The left-hander went 6 1-3 innings and gave up three runs and six hits in his last outing, Monday's 5-4, 10-inning loss at Kansas City.
Cecil is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last three starts after losing his previous three outings.
In the second game, Detroit will look for a solid outing from Jeremy Bonderman (5-6, 4.98), who is 1-1 with an 8.27 ERA in his last three starts at Comerica Park. The right-hander surrendered five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings of Monday's 8-6, 14-inning loss to the Rangers.
Bonderman, who is 2-2 with a 2.81 ERA in eight starts versus Toronto, has not faced the Blue Jays since 2008.
Toronto's Jesse Litsch (1-4, 5.79) hasn't won two consecutive starts since September 2008, but the right-hander will get the chance in Game 2 after tossing 5 2-3 innings, allowing one run and scattering eight hits in Tuesday's 13-1 victory at Kansas City. Litsch, who had been 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA in his previous four starts, earned his first win since Sept. 28, 2008.
"It's been a long time,'' he said. "It's definitely a good thing to get that one off the shoulders and something to build on.''
Litsch is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts versus Detroit.
Miguel Cabrera is 3 for 6 with two homers lifetime against Litsch, but has never faced Cecil. Cabrera is 5 for 8 with four doubles and three RBIs in this series.
Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, who leads the majors with 26 homers, struck out in his only career at-bat against Galarraga. He is 2 for 4 versus Bonderman.
Toronto hosts Detroit for four games beginning Aug. 26.