Game time: 1:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
Where to watch: SNET, SNET-1, Bally Sports Detroit
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Blue Jays -155, Tigers +135
Season record (entering Saturday)
Blue Jays: 66-61 (4th place, AL East)
Tigers: 62-67 (3rd place, AL Central)
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Blue Jays - Tigers preview and analysis
Recent form (entering Saturday)
Blue Jays: 3-7 in last 10
Tigers: 4-6 in last 10
No matter how hard you want to manifest the Toronto Blue Jays getting into the playoffs in order to see playoff Vladimir Guerrero Jr., it may be time to put away the candles and burning sage.
The Blue Jays are falling off quick in both the American League East and AL Wild Card standings with 35 games to go, and that hot stretch they had when returning to Rogers Centre seems to be all but gone.
Toronto will close a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park on Sunday in what could be a last-ditch effort for a playoff run.
At the moment, it doesn’t look promising. The Blue Jays have lost seven of 10 and seemingly fell backward after splitting a four-game set with the Chicago White Sox earlier this week.
The old saying goes if you try to find more ways to lose, the more painful it becomes. And when the Blue Jays gave up a go-ahead inside-the-park home-run to Victor Reyes in the bottom of the eighth on Friday, it was just another chapter of things that have just gone horribly wrong for the Blue Jays in the last month.
Despite six strong innings from starter Steven Matz, Toronto’s offense had only one run on six hits. It came from their MVP, Guerrero Jr., on a double in the top of the third. Guerrero Jr. had two of the Blue Jays’ six hits, and they left seven runners on base.
Jose Berrios will get the start for the Blue Jays on Sunday. Supposed to be the difference-maker in the trade deadline market, Berrios is 1-2 in three decisions since coming over from the Minnesota Twins at the deadline. His last win was his first start with Toronto; Aug. 1 against the Kansas City Royals. Toronto is 1-4 in Berrios’ five August starts. He pitched only three innings while giving up four runs, and having six strikeouts, his last start Aug. 24 against the White Sox.
Not much is happening in Detroit outside of Miguel Cabrera making MLB history and everything, but the Tigers’ rebuild may be accelerating the timeline a tad. Detroit is only a few games below .500 and haven’t strung together many wins as of late, but to stay this competitive this late into the season has to have people feeling good in Detroit.
The Tigers got six of their seven hits from the big-boy bats. Jeimer Candelario led the way going 2-for-4 on Friday, and Cabrera drove in the other Detroit run on an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning.
It’s inevitable that the Tigers will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season, but manager A.J. Hinch has started to develop a winning culture in Detroit. They’re not going to finish last in the AL Central for the fifth time in those seven years, and such memories of that 47-win season in 2019 are all but out the window.
Left-hander Matthew Boyd is expected to take the mound for the Tigers. The 30-year-old will make his first start since June 14 after dealing with a triceps injury that kept him on the 60-day IL. He’s 3-6 with a 3.44 ERA
This matchup should favor the pitching and give an edge to the Blue Jays. But if they’re not hitting homers and driving in runs through the middle of the lineup, there’s no point. For a matinee game, expect the Tigers to come out swinging. Tigers win 5-3.
Toronto is 44-35 (-13.2 net games) as a favorite this season. The over is 74-68.
The Tigers are 49-58 (+17 games on the money line) when an underdog in 2021.
Blue Jays: CF George Springer (knee, 10-day IL), 3B Cavan Biggio (multiple, 10-day IL)
Tigers: RP Wily Peralta (blister, 10-day IL)
Players to watch
Blue Jays: Despite a rough month at the plate, you can’t count out Vladdy Jr. in the box or in the field. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Friday, extending his hit streak to five games.
Tigers: Hitting his 500th homer has seen a recent return in Miguel Cabrera’s swing. He’s on a four-game hitting streak with two home runs and three RBI.
Bo Bichette (R) SS
Marcus Semien (R) 2B
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
Teoscar Hernandez (R) DH
Corey Dickerson (L) RF
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R) LF
Josh Palacios (L) CF
Kevin Smith (R) 3B
Reese McGuire (L) C
Robbie Grossman (S) LF
Jonathan Schoop (R) 1B
Jeimer Candelario (S) 3B
Miguel Cabrera (R) DH
Eric Haase (R) C
Daz Cameron (R) RF
Willi Castro (S) 2B
Zack Short (R) SS
Derek Hill (R) CF
Probable starting pitchers: Jose Berrios (TOR) vs. Matthew Boyd (DET)
Batting average: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.311)
Hits: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (145)
Home runs: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (36)
RBI: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (91)
Stolen bases: Bo Bichette (19)
Wins: Hyun Jin Ryu (12)
Saves: Jordan Romano (13)
ERA: Robbie Ray (2.72)
Batting average: Jonathan Schoop (.287)
Hits: Jonathan Schoop (141)
Home runs: Robbie Grossman (19)
RBI: Jonathan Schoop (70)
Stolen bases: Robbie Grossman (15)
Wins: Tarik Skubal (8)
Saves: Gregory Soto (16)
ERA: Casey Mize (3.55)
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