Tigers’ Drew Hutchison, a former Jay, faces Toronto for first time

MLB Baseball

Tigers’ Drew Hutchison, a former Jay, faces Toronto for first time

Drew Hutchison will return to the scene of some of his most successful moments Sunday afternoon when he starts for the visiting Detroit Tigers against his former team, the Toronto Blue Jays.

The right-hander, who was with the Blue Jays from 2012-16, will face left-hander Steven Matz (10-7, 4.08 ERA) in the rubber match of a three-game series in what will be Hutchinson’s 30th birthday.

Matz will be pitching against Detroit for the first time in his career.

Hutchison (0-1, 10.80) pitched well at Rogers Centre, going 21-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 37 games (35 starts) there. This will be the first time he has faced the Blue Jays.

Hutchison was Toronto’s Opening Day starter in 2015. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Francisco Liriano, Harold Ramirez and Reese McGuire in August 2016. McGuire is still with the Blue Jays.

“It’s the first time I’ve been back,” Hutchison said. “It’s good to be back in the city, and I’m looking forward to (Sunday). I’ve always just turned the page and doing what I can do to be in the big leagues. It’s been a fight for me the last few years.”

Hutchison was 30-21 with a 4.92 ERA and 374 strikeouts over 406 1/3 innings in 76 games (73 starts) with Toronto. He went on to pitch with the Pirates (2016), Philadelphia Phillies (2018) and Texas Rangers (2018) before joining the Tigers this season.

“I think my stuff is closer to where it was when I was here (with the Blue Jays),” Hutchison told the Detroit Free Press.

In his first MLB appearance since 2018 last Sunday in Detroit, he allowed six runs (two earned), five hits and three walks with one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings.

“I was just a little off,” Hutchison said. “It’s a little different, but I don’t think nerves got the better of me or anything like that. I just didn’t execute pitches.”

The teams have split the first two games of the series even though Toronto’s starters Robbie Ray and Hyun Jin Ryu were dominant.

The Tigers won the opener on Friday night 4-1 in 10 innings. The Blue Jays won 3-0 on Saturday with Randal Grichuk and Marcus Semien hitting home runs.

Ryu was strong through seven innings, inducing three double-play grounders.

“Ryu was our ace today; another great job,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He gave us a chance. Bo (Bichette’s) defense at short turning double plays was huge, too, because there was no room for error. Every play counted, and our defense was good, but Ryu was outstanding.”

It was especially important for the Blue Jays because they wasted Ray’s strong eight-inning outing on Friday and lost their third straight game.

“It was huge,” Montoyo said. “It’s about the circumstances of the game. We were on a semi-losing streak, we need to win close games, the offense is not swinging the bats very well right now. … We needed a game like that, and he gave it to us.”

Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera, going for his 500th career home run, was 0-for-3 with a walk on Saturday.

Derek Hill (rib cage contusion) returned to the Tigers lineup Saturday and was 2-for-4 batting leadoff and playing center field. Renato Nunez was designated for assignment.

–Field Level Media

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