Teams and their fans often focus on their own situations, which is normal because that is who we watch every day, and who the teams have to be concerned with. It’s certainly no different with the Tigers and their fans. We often beef about how we are decimated by injuries, like in the 2011 playoffs. If only Avila would’ve been healthy, or Boesch been able to play, maybe things might of been different. Detroit’s upcoming opponent, the Toronto Blue Jays, had at one time the same realistic playoff aspirations the Tigers do, but their reality is that injuries have taken it’s toll. If we as Tigers fans are looking to complain about Victor Martinez, we need only to look at Toronto to see it could be worse.
Toronto has suffered injuries in the areas it could least afford when the year started. It’s starting pitching. Brandon Morrow has been the biggest loss, as he started the season strongly, but hasn’t pitched since June 11th. Two months is a long time to be without your best pitcher. Starters Drew Hutchinson and Kyle Drabek have been lost for the year to injury as well. Jesse Litsch was lost to the disabled list in April. Relievers Luis Perez and Jason Frasor hit the disabled list as well. Closer Sergio Santos has been out since April, and only got to pitch 5 games for the Blue Jays.
Things haven’t gone well for the Jays position wise either. Their best player, Jose Bautista has been out since the middle of July. Super sophomore Brett Lawrie has missed 20 games. These are two guys the Jays desperately need in their lineup day to day. Adam Lindhas struggled so much he has spent time in the minors this season and now is on the D.L. himself with back issues.
Basically, the team the Tigers are facing right now is a shell of it’s former self, but that doesn’t mean the Jays couldn’t still give the Tigers trouble in this upcoming 3 game series.
The Tigers get the series started tonight against lefty starter Ricky Romero. Overall the Tigers haven’t been that effective against left-handed pitchers this season, though Romero has struggled mightily. Romero sports an ERA of 5.53 this season and has struggled in 5 career starts against the Tigers with an ERA of 5.79. The Tigers also face lefties Aaron Laffey and newly acquired J.A. Happ. Neither of each is impressive.
Meanwhile, while the Jays are starting 3 unimpressive lefties against Detroit, the Tigers counter with 3 right handers in Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez. Not in that order though. Scherzer takes the mound tonight and looks to continue racking up the strikeouts in bunches. Max has been real good this season since a rough April set him back and inflated his declining ERA.
I’m going to stay out of the prediction business, but the Tigers should have themselves a good series. They are facing a lineup full of AAA guys and a rebuilt pitching staff, though nobody feels bad for Toronto.
I hope the Tigers take advantage of the Jays while their wings are clipped.