Toronto Bluejays vs. Detroit Tigers Preview and Pick – David Purcey vs. Kenny Rogers

Toronto Blue Jays (61-59) +140, 9 1/2 at Detroit Tigers (58-61), 7 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of

The Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers, two teams trying to stay relevant in the American League’s wild-card race, meet for the third game of a four-game series Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Baseball bookmakers are listing Detroit and starting pitcher Kenny Rogers (8-9, 4.92, 1.55 WHIP) as 150 home favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 9 1/2, while Toronto and rookie David Purcey (1-3, 7.40, 1.60) are getting +140 as road underdogs.

The Blue Jays have taken the first two games of this series, by scores of 7-2 and, last night, 6-4. So while Toronto has won six of its last nine games, the Tigers have lost nine of their last 12.

So going into Wednesday’s action, Toronto is in fourth place in the AL East, 11 games back of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, while Detroit is in third place in the AL Central, 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.

Also, the Jays are eight games back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL wild-card race, while the Tigers are 10 1/2 games out.

Toronto is 27-33 on the road this year, 21-23 as underdogs, and 56-64 vs. the run line.

Detroit is 31-25 at home this season, 43-31 as favorites, and 57-62 vs. the run line.

The Jays have taken four of six games from the Tigers so far this season, with the totals going 3-3, as the games have averaged 8.3 total runs per.

Over his last three starts, including a decent (but losing) performance vs. Cleveland last Friday, Purcey has allowed 11 ER and 21 baserunners (hits + walks) in 17 IP. Toronto is 1-4 in Purcey’s starts this year, the totals 3-1.

Purcey has started once vs. Detroit this season, giving up one ER and nine BR (seven on walks) in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-4 Toronto loss back in April.

Over his last three starts, including a mediocre showing vs. Oakland last Friday, Rogers has allowed 15 ER and 29 BR in 16 IP. Detroit is 11-13 in Rogers’ starts this year, the totals 12-11.

Rogers has started two games this year and last vs. Toronto, allowing six ER and 16 BR in 13 IP. The Tigers won both of those games.

Offensively, Toronto ranks 18th in the majors this season in team BA at .259, 13th in team OBP at .334, 25th in team slugging at .385, and is averaging 4.3 runs per game.

Detroit ranks 6th in both batting at .275 and OBP at .343, 4th in slugging at .445, and is averaging 5.1 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Toronto bullpen has allowed three ER and 14 BR in 15 1/3 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the Detroit pen has given up six ER and 20 BR in 14 1/3 IP.

On the injury front, Tigers SS Carlos Guillen is listed as doubtful/questionable for Wednesday’s game with a bad back, and OF Marcus Thames is questionable with a sore shoulder. Also, Detroit closer Todd Jones is on the DL with a shoulder problem of his own.

The totals are 48-65 in Jays games this year, and six of their last nine games have gone under the totals, as Toronto pitching has allowed just 28 runs over that span.

The totals are 57-55 in Tigers games, and 28-23 in games played at Comerica Park, which are averaging 10.45 total runs this season, 4th-most among all ML ballparks this year.

Zman’s Pick: I think Kenny Rogers rights the ship tonight vs. a young inexperienced pitcher that doesn’t have it together yet.