“We’re still in conversation with other clubs on several players,” Detroit general manager Al Avila told MLB.com this week. “So we’ll just have to take it a day at a time.”
The Twins, just a half-game behind Cleveland in the American League Central, are buyers and appeared to have purchased a new starting pitcher. Multiple reports said Minnesota traded for Atlanta Braves left-hander Jamie Garcia a day before facing the Tigers.
Garcia is just 3-7 with a 4.33 ERA, but the 31-year-old owns a 3.65 career ERA.
The Twins have used 11 starting pitchers this year and have sought any kind of help behind Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and the emerging Adalberto Mejia. Minnesota had 44-year-old Bartolo Colon start a game this week.
There will be no worries about the starting pitcher on Friday against Detroit. Santana (11-6, 2.99 ERA) will be making his second start since pitching in the All-Star Game. He is 9-4 with a 3.08 ERA in his career against the Tigers.
In his last outing, Santana earned a win against the Houston Astros by allowing two runs in six innings, even as he struggled with fastball command.
“It was tough, especially when you don’t have command of the fastball,” Santana told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “You come in with sliders, but you also have to come in with the changeup. You don’t want to be throwing changeup all night, so I just tried to mix it up. I just tried to make an adjustment every time.”
Minnesota is coming off a series win at home against the New York Yankees for the first time since 2008. The Twins are 8-5 in their last 13 games at home after starting the season with the worst home record in the AL.
“We bunched them together,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said of the team’s offense in the series-clinching win Wednesday. “We’ve had a little trouble getting some clutch hits here since we’ve come out of the break, and we put three together in a row.”
This time around, Minnesota won’t be facing Martinez, a big blow to Detroit’s potent lineup.
“Now, you can get a left-handed bat in the lineup,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told MLB.com. “But let’s be honest: J.D.’s right-handed bat against a righty is better than most left-handed bats against a righty. In that sense, you’re not going to replace the offense. We’ll probably cover a little bit more ground in right field, but the offense won’t be replaced.”
Detroit has lost two games in a row after a 16-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. The Tigers’ defense committed three errors in a four-run first inning for Kansas City.
“It was an ugly inning, maybe the ugliest inning we’ve had defensively since I’ve been here,” Ausmus told MLB.com.
Ausmus will look for improved defense behind Friday’s starter, Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 6.08), who will be making his sixth start of the season after moving into the rotation on June 19. He has a 3.99 ERA as a starter this season but gave up five runs in six innings to the Toronto Blue Jays in his last start.
Sanchez has faced the Twins three times this season as a reliever, yielding eight runs in three innings. In his career, Sanchez is 5-4 with a 3.65 ERA against Minnesota.