Big things were expected from the Toronto Blue Jays this season. Unfortunately, they are off to their worst start in nine years. On Wednesday, the Blue Jays play the middle test of a three-game set against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Toronto's early season struggles continued in Tuesday's opener, as Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-5 with a three-run homer, four RBI and three runs scored to power Detroit to a 7-3 win.
Torii Hunter added three hits to reach 2,000 for his career, while Alex Avila had a solo homer and Prince Fielder and Matt Tuiasosopo each knocked in a run in the win for the Tigers.
Anibal Sanchez (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits while striking out eight over seven innings to get the win.
"This lineup, it's amazing," Sanchez said. "That's why I took the decision to come back here. I know that we have a pretty good team. I know that right now we have Victor (Martinez) out, but if you put out that lineup, I think everybody has to play harder. They have to play hard with us."
Colby Rasmus hit a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who fell to 2-5 on the young season. It is their worst start since opening the 2004 campaign 2-6.
"You look at it, we've played seven games, where everything's magnified, the focus on us and things like that," manager John Gibbons said. "That's what makes it tough.
"But we have a good ballclub, we'll snap out of it. It would be nice to get one of these games and throw three or four runs up in the first inning, and that makes things easier on the pitchers, too."
Brandon Morrow (0-1) gave up five runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings for Toronto, which started a six-game road trip on Tuesday.
A big reason behind the Blue Jays' slow start is the fact that their starters have pitched to a 6.08 ERA in the first seven games. Lefty Mark Buehrle contributed to that inflated number in his initial start and will be on the hill Wednesday.
Buehrle did not get a decision against Cleveland on Thursday, but was roughed up to the tune of six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 frames. He only walked one batter, but hit two more in his team's 10-8 win.
"I think the biggest thing I'm frustrated about is going out there after we just scored three runs to take a 6-3 lead, go out there and walk the leadoff guy, hit a guy, put yourself in a jam," Buehrle said. "That's unacceptable. I need to do a better job, but I just got behind in counts and guys got base hits and the next thing you know it's a tie game.
"But I thank some of the guys on offense for picking me up and there will be a day when I pick them up when we don't score many runs and hopefully I can hold the opponent down and we can win that game."
After spending the first 12 years of his career in the American League Central with the Chicago White Sox before signing with the Miami Marlins last season, the Tigers are, of course, no stranger to Buehrle. In 34 games (33 starts) he is 18-10 against them with a 3.36 ERA.
Rick Porcello failed to carry his solid spring into the regular season on Thursday, as he lost his debut to the Minnesota Twins. Porcello gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings of that one.
Porcello has faced the Blue Jays five times and is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA.
Toronto lost four of six matchups with Detroit a season ago.