Tigers go with Boyd on Saturday, Sanchez on Sunday

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

Toronto — It’s official. Not that there was much doubt who the Tigers would start in today’s and Sunday’s games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Matt Boyd, who a year ago was pitching in the Jays farm system, will start for the Tigers. Anibal Sanchez, who has been in and out of the rotation as a volatile 2016 season has slapped him with bad numbers, will start Sunday’s game.

“Truthfully,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after the Tigers had lost Friday’s game, 6-0, to the Jays, “there weren’t a lot of options.”

And that seemed apparent all along. Jordan Zimmermann (neck strain) and Daniel Norris (oblique) each were dispatched to the disabled list this week, which were two more knockout punches to a Tigers rotation that had been having ample issues throughout the 2016 season’s first half.

Boyd has been riding the Toledo-Detroit shuttle much of 2016. He has a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts and was typically strong in his latest start on Sunday, when he pitched six innings against Indianapolis, allowing a run on three hits, while striking out seven.

Sanchez has had a different portfolio in 2016. He has a 6.52 ERA in 21 games (13 starts) for the Tigers, which amounts to a miserable campaign for a man of Sanchez’s past achievements.

To make roster room for Boyd, the Tigers after Friday’s game returned reliever Bobby Parnell to Triple A Toledo.

Pelfrey’s pitching

Effective. That’s perhaps the right word for Mike Pelfrey’s midseason turnaround, which has been one sign of life in a Tigers rotation that hasn’t had much to cheer, at least of late.

He had another solid shift Friday, holding the Blue Jays to six hits and a lone run in six innings. It was the third time in his last four starts Pelfrey has allowed one or fewer earned runs in a start.

“I felt like I’ve been better the last two starts,” said Pelfrey, who wasn’t happy early Friday when he threw 65 pitches in the first three innings, but still held the Jays scoreless before smoothing his pitch-count through his final three innings.

“I had a lot of 3-2 walks early (three) and I didn’t know if I’d make it through five with that pitch-count. With this (Jays) lineup, you get too aggressive and throw pitches over the middle, and it’s going to be a short day for you. But the ball was sinking, and that’s my bread and butter.”

Pelfrey’s numbers through April, May, and June were fairly atrocious as he allowed 118 hits in 89 innings and walked 32 batters. His WHIP for April was an appallingly bad 1.92.

“In April I was just so bad,” said Pelfrey, who last December signed a two-year, free-agent deal with the Tigers worth $16 million. “I wanted to start off well for the Tigers, and it just left a bad taste. I know I’m better than that.”

With his effort Friday night, which benefited mightily from three double plays, Pelfrey got his fifth quality start of the season. His ERA dropped to 4.58.

OK, Blue Jays

The crowd was big. Again.

Friday night’s audience at Rogers Centre was 43,228, only a tad lighter than the sellout throng of 46,000-plus who turned out Thursday for the Jays’ series-opening victory over the Tigers.

It’s a different throng in Toronto. Loud. High-pulsed. And even visiting players enjoy it.

“These people love their team,” said Cameron Maybin, who gets his share of tart heckling from the Jays fans. “I love when they’re talking crap. That’s what fans are supposed to do.

“But you can feel the electricity here. Even when they’re chanting my name the whole game, it’s terrific.

“They’re long-winded.”


Twitter.com: @Lynn_Henning

Tigers at Blue Jays

First pitch: 1:07 p.m. Saturday, Rogers Centre, Toronto

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Scouting report

LHP Matt Boyd (0-2, 6.44), Tigers: Boyd has been riding the Toledo-Detroit shuttle much of 2016. He has a 2.25 ERA in 11 starts and was typically strong in his latest start on Sunday

RHP Aaron Sanchez (9-1, 2.94), Blue Jays: Young pitcher (24) in his third season with the Jays and having a splendid year. Four pitches, all very good, and gets a heavy supply of ground balls. Tigers in for a battle today.