Max Scherzer became the second Cy Young winner on Detroit’s staff in 2013, though it was Tigers teammate Anibal Sanchez who finished with the AL’s best ERA.
After rain delayed his debut, Sanchez looks to put a recent shoulder ailment behind him Friday when the Tigers open a three-game set against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
Scherzer joined 2011 winner Justin Verlander by claiming last season’s AL Cy Young Award for Detroit (2-0), but Sanchez provided another formidable piece of the Tigers’ rotation in his first full season with the team.
Like Scherzer and Verlander, Sanchez topped 200 strikeouts – matching his career high from 2011 with 202 – and posted a 2.57 ERA while going 14-8.
"Every year you have to make some goals," Sanchez told the team’s official website. "For me, it’s getting to 200 innings, get 200 strikeouts, get my 33 starts a year. That’s my goal every single year: Control what I can control."
Sanchez finished with a career high for victories but is entering this season after dealing with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He was slated to start Detroit’s final spring game Saturday in Washington, but the game was rained out.
He instead pitched a simulated game the next day in Detroit and was deemed ready to go, only to have rain postpone his scheduled season debut Thursday versus Kansas City.
The game will be made up June 19 as part of a four-game set.
Now, Sanchez looks to win a second meeting with the Orioles (1-2) after allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-4 win with the then-Florida Marlins on June 22, 2010.
Heroics at the plate have the Tigers in position to go 3-0 for the second time in three years.
Alex Gonzalez’s ninth-inning single finished off a 4-3 comeback win over the Royals in Monday’s season opener, and Ian Kinsler helped his club pull out a 2-1 victory in 10 innings Wednesday.
Kinsler hit his first homer with Detroit in the fourth inning and that was the only run until new closer Joe Nathan blew his first save opportunity in the ninth. Nathan went 19 for 19 at Comerica Park while pitching for Minnesota and Texas.
Kinsler ended the game with a single and the Tigers also got two calls that were reversed in their favor on challenges.
Detroit has dropped four of the past five meetings with Baltimore at Comerica Park, including two of three from June 17-19.
The Orioles enter this set following Thursday’s 4-3 loss to Boston, their second straight after opening with a 2-1 victory Tuesday. Baltimore totaled seven runs while batting .216 in the series.
"They threw well against us in three games, but you know, luckily it’s a long season," said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was 0 for 4 on Thursday after getting three hits in the first two games.
Chris Davis, who doubled for one of his two hits Thursday, may be looking forward to a trip to Detroit. The star first baseman has five homers among his eight hits in the Motor City while driving in 10 runs over five games.
Miguel Gonzalez is slated to take the mound after going 11-8 with a 3.78 ERA in 2013.
The right-hander went 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in six games during spring training, but concluded it with his worst outing. He surrendered four runs and two homers with two walks while hitting a batter in five innings against Boston on March 26.
Gonzalez is 0-1 while struggling through two career starts against the Tigers, getting tagged for eight runs and three homers with eight walks in 11 2-3 innings.