Detroit Tigers (63-51) at Toronto Blue Jays (62-56)
Time/Place: 1:07 p.m., Rogers Centre
SB Nation blog: Bluebird Banter
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: LHP David Price (11- 8, 3.11 ERA) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (11- 8, 3.27 ERA)
David Price will make his second start as a Tiger, looking for his first victory wearing the olde English D. Price had a solid effort in his Tigers' debut, working 8 2/3 innings, and the Tigers won in 12 innings at Yankee stadium, but he was denied the victory, earning a no- decision for his efforts. Price has had very good success against the Blue Jays, with a career record of 15-2, and 7-0 at Rogers Centre.
Mark Buehrle shot out of the gate to start the 2014 season with ten wins against just one loss in his first twelve starts. His luck ran out, as he has recorded just one victory and seven defeats in his last eleven starts. Buehrle held a sparkling 2.64 ERA at the all star break, earning his fifth All Star appearance, but he has a 7.32 ERA in the second half of the season.
The two left handed starters each have a record of 11-8 coming into this game. The two teams have had nearly the same offensive output this season, but Price is trending upward, while Buehrle has cooled off recently. Noticeably, Price tends to work an extra inning or two per game while Buehrle is hitting the showers.
Current Tigers have hit Buehrle pretty well over their careers, with Victor Martinez batting .355/.367/.539/.907, Rajai Davis hitting .353/.353/.471/.824, and Alex Avila hitting .308 against the left- hander.
Hitter to fear: Jose Bautista is batting .341/.423/.727/1.150 for his career against Price, with five home runs.
Hitter to fail: Colby Rasmus is just 4 for 22, with a line of .182/.280/.182/.462.
The Tigers need to give Price some run support, and the sooner they get to Buehrle, the better. Price is the ideal pitcher for the Tigers, as he attacks hitters, going deep into games and logging more innings than any pitcher, thus fitting right in line with the strategy of bullpen avoidance.
The Tigers stole a game on Friday with back to back home runs in the ninth inning after trailing the entire game. They gave it back on Saturday with another bullpen implosion. Sunday's game is what Ernie Harwell would call "the rubber game of the series", with both teams needing a win to bolster their post season hopes.
The Tigers squander chances against Buehrle, but plate enough runs as Price holds the Jays in check. The bullpen, sans Joe Nathan, survives a scare to seal the Tigers victory.