The Toronto Blue Jays are only three games into the season and are already within one shutout of matching their pitching staff's total from 2018. Toronto will look to continue its dominant pitching when it sends rookie right-hander Trent Thornton to the mound in Sunday's finale of a four-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers.
After dropping a 2-0 decision in 10 innings on Opening Day, the Blue Jays have registered back-to-back shutouts and held Detroit scoreless in 27 of 28 innings in the series. "A lot of people around the league don't really see the same views as we do here in the clubhouse," right-hander Aaron Sanchez said after Saturday's 3-0 win. "It will be a grind all year in terms of that, but I think we're up for the task and three games in, it's showing." The Tigers have managed only 11 hits in the series ("Everybody wants to hit a five-run homer with one guy on base," manager Ron Gardenhire said) and saw slugger Miguel Cabrera exit Saturday's game after getting plunked on the right hand by a pitch. X-rays were negative but Cabrera's status for Sunday is unclear for Detroit, which was blanked a major league-high 18 times last year.
TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, Sportsnet (Toronto), TVAS (Toronto), OMNI (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers LH Matt Moore (2018: 3-8, 6.79 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Trent Thornton (NR)
Moore pitched primarily out of the bullpen for the Texas Rangers last season but will get a chance to stick in the rotation with Detroit, which signed him to a one-year contract in December. A former All-Star with Tampa Bay prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, the 29-year-old surrendered 19 homers in only 102 innings and allowed opposing batters to hit a robust .305 against him last season. Justin Smoak is 2-for-12 against Moore, who is 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 12 appearances (11 starts) versus Toronto.
Injuries to projected starters Ryan Borucki and Clay Buchholz opened a spot in the rotation, giving the rookie Thornton the opportunity to make an impression in his major-league debut. The 25-year-old spent last season at Triple-A Fresno and compiled a 9-8 record with a 4.42 ERA while averaging nearly a strikeout an inning in 24 appearances (22 starts). Acquired in a trade with Houston for Aledmys Diaz in November, Thornton is 32-19 over four seasons in the minors.
1. Smoak belted a two-run homer Saturday and is 3-for-7 with four RBIs in the last two games.
2. Cabrera collected hit No. 2,678 on Saturday, moving him past Luis Aparicio and into second all-time among Venezuelan-born players.
3. Toronto's starters have opened the season with 19 scoreless innings, more than doubling the previous franchise record of eight.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Tigers 3 Bet Now
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