Game 102 Preview: Tigers at Blue Jays

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 17: Brett Cecil #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays picthes in the first-inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 17, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Detroit Tigers (53-48) at Toronto Blue Jays (51-49)

Time/Place: 1:00 p.m., Rogers Centre

SB Nation Blog: Bluebird Banter

Side note: Drunk Jays Fans is also highly recommended for any and all things Blue Jays. But be warned, the language is what you would expect from a blog called 'Drunk Jays Fans.'

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Doug Fister (4-7, 4.03 ERA) vs. LHP Brett Cecil (2-3, 5.82 ERA)

Cecil made his season debut on June 17th and has been decent ever since, save for a couple of bad starts that have inflated his ERA. He picked up losses in each of his last two outings despite tallying quality starts against both the New York Yankees and red-hot Oakland Athletics. He relies heavily on his breaking pitches, throwing his curveball and slider nearly 50% of the time. His fastball tops out in the high 80s.

Fister seemed a little off in his last start, but if "off" involves 3 runs in 7 innings of work, the Tigers are in good shape. He continues to have a phenomenal second half, striking out 22 hitters in 22 innings while walking just three batters. If he can stay away from the home run ball -- easier said than done against the Blue Jays -- the Tigers should be in good shape late in the game.

Outlook

Reading the comments after yesterday's loss, you would have thought that it was still June and that the Tigers were still 3 games under .500 and 5 games back in the division. For those of you who actually have amnesia: first off, welcome (again). Second, it's July and the Tigers are 2.5 games out of first place. Third, the Tigers are 7-4 against the aforementioned first place Chicago White Sox this season. Relax, we're not Cleveland. That being said, it would be nice to win today so that we can avoid the "sky is falling" comments that seem to be largely unavoidable around here.

Prediction

Fister gets the Tigers back on track with a spectacular outing.

Gameday Reading:

Jays Got the Eye of the Tiger: Blue Jays 5, Tigers 1 - Bluebird Banter
"The week seems to be a reflection of how this season has gone as they looked really awful against Oakland in the first two games then now have won three in a row in dominating fashion (pitching, offense and defense.)"

Tigers Lose, Fans Hastily Jump to Conclusions - Walkoff Woodward, Erin Saelzler
"Either they’re just missing pitches or that’s what Toronto’s game plan is against them and they’re executing it to perfection."

White Sox acquire Francisco Liriano - South Side Sox, Jim Margalus
Why does Kenny Williams still have a job?

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