Apr 5, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Josh Johnson (55) delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Detroit Tigers vs. Toronto Blue Jays

After taking a series from the Yankees, the Detroit Tigers look to continue their winning ways as the Toronto Blue Jays come to town. The Blue Jays made a bunch of moves this offseason to position themselves as major players in the AL East, but they find themselves with just a 2-4 record one week in. Still, this Tigers-Jays series could very well be an AL playoff preview.

Tuesday, April 9 – 1:08 PM (TV: Fox Sports Detroit)

Apr 3, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow (23) delivers a pitch against the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Anibal Sanchez vs. Brandon Morrow (RHP)

Brandon Morrow had a breakout 2012 season, but his fantastic year was interrupted with a mid-season injury that kept him out for two months. He ended the season with a 2.96 ERA in 124 innings. Morrow is traditionally a high strikeout pitcher, but his K-rate dipped below eight per nine innings a season ago (though it clearly didn’t affect his overall line). He’ll be big for the Blue Jays if they hope to be World Series contenders, but he’s yet to prove that he can throw more than 180 innings in a season.

Morrow throws a 94 mph fastball (60%), a slider (20%), a splitter (12%), and an occasional curveball (6%).

Sanchez only went five innings in his first appearance of the season, but he struck out a batter per inning and didn’t allow a run to score. He’ll need to go deeper into the game (Jim Leyland was holding all the guys under 100 pitches the first time through the rotation), but overall he provided a solid outing to build on.

Wednesday, April 10 – 1:08 PM (TV: Fox Sports Detroit)

Mar 13, 2013; Bradenton, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the bottom of the second inning of a spring training game at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Porcello vs. Mark Buehrle (LHP)

Mark Buehrle is a familiar face and name for the Detroit Tigers. He pitched for the Chicago White Sox for 12 seasons before signing with the Miami Marlins prior to the 2012 season. He was traded from Miami to Toronto this offseason as part of the monster deal that included Jose Reyes. Buehrle won’t overpower anyone or rack up the strikeout totals, but neither does he allow many walks. At the end of the year he’ll finish with an ERA in the threes and keep his team in the game more often than not.

Buehrle throws an 85 mph four-seam fastball (30%), a two-seam fastball, cutter, and changeup (all about 20%), and a curveball (10%).

Rick Porcello wasn’t the same guy we all saw down in Flordia, but he did show a few positive signs. He was hitting 92-93 with his fastball, but got killed when two balls left the yard. He has to be better the next time out.

Thursday, April 11 – 1:08 PM (TV: Fox Sports Detroit)

Doug Fister vs. Josh Johnson (RHP)

Josh Johnson — also acquired from the Marlins this offseason — is making the transition to the American League for the first time in his career. He’s had some injury problems in his career, but when he’s been in the game, he’s been dominant. He’s in his ninth year (he’ll cross the 1,000 inning mark this season) with an ERA of just 3.16.

Johnson throws a 93 mph fastball (55%), slider (24%), curveball (16%), and an occasional changeup (5%).

Doug Fister got the meaningless win over the Yankees in the home opener, but the team was behind when he really left the game. He wasn’t his usual sharp self and missed the zone too often with his fastball. He only walked two hitters, but he was in two and three ball counts all afternoon.

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