The Detroit Tigers are eager to keep making things difficult for a contending team on Saturday afternoon in the third game of a four-game series against the host Toronto Blue Jays.
The Tigers, who won two of three at home against the San Diego Padres earlier this week, defeated the Blue Jays and one of their top pitchers, Alek Manoah, 4-2 on Friday night.
The teams have split the first two games of the series.
Detroit’s Willi Castro hit his fourth home run of the season, and second in two games, on Friday. Teammate Harold Castro had a two-run single. He has hit safely in 15 of his past 18 games with an at-bat, hitting .303 (20-for-66) over that span.
Former Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.84 ERA) will start Saturday for the Tigers. Hutchison has faced the Blue Jays once in his career, allowing one unearned run in 4 1/3 innings during a start on Aug. 22, 2021.
The Blue Jays will start right-hander Ross Stripling (5-3. 3.10 ERA) on Saturday. In two career outings against the Tigers, Stripling is 2-0 with no runs allowed and eight strikeouts in eight innings. He earned a win at Detroit on June 12 when he fired six shutout innings.
The Tigers have won three of their past five games following a 2-11 drought.
As the trade deadline approaches, the Tigers are likely to deal one or more of their relievers. Michael Fulmer and Joe Jimenez, who both pitched Friday, are possible candidates.
“All of us read a little bit, probably too much, and read into a lot of different things,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “I’ve tried to refocus our guys. One, we have a focus to play the Blue Jays, and two, the only reason we’re being talked about is because we haven’t won.
“Just trying to make sure our guys realize we put ourselves in this situation. We have to deal with the stress, the anxiousness, the curiosity, and the reality that if I was on the outside and I had a contending club, I would have a few pieces that I would want here, too.”
Matt Chapman continued his hitting surge for Toronto on Friday, belting his 19th home run of the season and third of the series. Fifteen of his bombs have come at home. He is riding a season-best, eight-game hitting streak during which he is 14-for-28 (.500) with four homers and 10 RBIs.
“I always feel comfortable playing here, I love playing here,” Chapman said.
“The fans make it fun, and I know our whole team likes playing here. I see the ball really well.”
Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider said of Chapman, “It’s so funny, because the first half of his year was kind of unlucky. He’s hitting the ball extremely hard. The work, the patience, the approach, I really can’t say enough. And he makes an impact on both sides of the ball.”
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled in the fifth inning on Friday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games in which he is batting .429 (18-for-42) with one homer and six RBIs.
The Blue Jays did not have George Springer (elbow) and Bo Bichette (shoulder) in the starting lineup on Friday. Bichette made the final out on Friday with a long fly ball as a pinch hitter.
Manoah was lifted after 5 1/3 innings of his start on Friday after taking a comebacker off the right elbow. The club said he sustained a contusion and X-rays were negative. Manoah wanted to stay in the game.
–Field Level Media