Detroit manager Jim Leyland believes Anibal Sanchez is much better than he's looked during his short time with the Tigers.
Sanchez tries to avoid a third consecutive losing start Wednesday night and help the Tigers hand the struggling Toronto Blue Jays a fifth straight road defeat (7:05 p.m. ET).
Since a 10-2 victory over Cleveland on Aug. 3 in his second outing after Detroit acquired him from Miami, Sanchez (1-3, 7.97 ERA) has allowed 12 runs and 19 hits in 8 1-3 innings over his last two starts. He'll be taking the mound Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 13, when he gave up five runs and 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-3 loss at Minnesota.
Jays put Escobar on paternity list
There's a good chance Adeiny Hechavarria will start one of the final two games of the Blue Jays' series at Detroit.
That's because the team placed Yunel Escobar on the paternity list. Under Major League Baseball rules, he'll need to be reinstated no later than Saturday's game at Baltimore.
Escobar, 29, is hitting .246 in 115 games this season with seven home runs and 39 runs batted in.
Hechavarria, a natural shortstop, has been manning third base for the injured Brett Lawrie for much of his time with Toronto since being summoned from the minors earlier this month.
The Blue Jays have recalled relief pitcher Chad Beck from AAA Las Vegas, where he has posted a 2-0 record, 15 saves and a 1.49 earned-run average in 39 games this season.
Beck, 27, has appeared in seven games for Toronto in 2012 with a 5.87 ERA.
— Doug Harrison, CBCSports.ca
"He's not keeping the ball down well enough," Leyland said. "I certainly know that he's a better pitcher than he's shown so far."
Sanchez has been even worse in two starts against the Blue Jays this season, losing both while allowing 11 runs, 15 hits and seven walks over 9 1-3 innings. In his Detroit debut July 28, he gave up five runs and eight hits — three homers — in six innings of a 5-1 loss at Toronto.
As Sanchez tries to turn things around, the Tigers (65-57) hope to build on Tuesday's 5-3 series-opening win. Max Scherzer allowed one run in seven innings and Austin Jackson had three hits for Detroit, which walked nine times as it bounced back after dropping two straight at home to Baltimore over the weekend.
The Tigers remained two games behind AL Central-leading Chicago, and still very much in the mix for a wild-card spot.
"This one's in the book, you turn the page," Leyland said. "That's what we've got to do now. Got to just play it out and see what happens."
Jackson is 7-for-14 in his last three games after going 2-for-12 over his previous five. He's 13-for-26 in seven career contests versus Toronto at Comerica Park.
Encarnacion a bright spot
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 32nd homer Tuesday for Toronto (56-66), which has lost three in a row and six of seven overall. The Blue Jays have also totalled of seven runs during a four-game road skid, and have scored three runs or fewer in five straight overall contests.
Encarnacion went 2-for-5 in the opener after going 0 for 6 over the previous two games. He's 2-for-4 with a homer off Sanchez.
Scheduled Toronto starter Aaron Laffey (3-4, 4.70) served up three home runs and one other hit in six innings Thursday to lose his second straight start, 7-2 to the White Sox. The left-hander has allowed eight homers over his last five starts while going 1-3 with a 7.39 ERA.
"I just worry about myself and in the end, go back and take the positives from [the last] game," Laffey told the Blue Jays' official website. "Obviously, the three mistakes [Thursday] that I made, there's nothing you can really do about those, you can't take them back. So, just move on."
Laffey is 0-2 with a 3.91 ERA in four career starts versus Detroit, but has not started a game against the Tigers since 2009, when he was with Cleveland.