Matthew Boyd began the season as the Detroit Tigers ace. He’ll go to the mound on Sunday content to just be back in the rotation.
Boyd will start for the first time since June 14 in the finale of a three-game home series against Toronto.
The left-hander has been sidelined with a triceps injury to his pitching arm that took longer than expected to heal. Boyd (3-6, 3.44 ERA) completed a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday, allowing just one bloop hit while striking out six in 4 1/3 innings.
“He had a great outing,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He faced some guys he’s faced before, major league guys — (Minnesota outfielder) Byron Buxton was down there on a rehab assignment — and it was nice he got into the fifth inning and punched some guys out. He did a nice job taking the next step.”
Boyd will be seeking his first win over the Blue Jays. He’s 0-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six career starts against them.
“Matt can provide some innings for us. He can certainly boost a rotation that we’re going to be creative with moving forward,” Hinch said. “He’s a big presence on this club. He’s the center of attention on a lot of days.”
Boyd will be opposed by Jose Berrios (8-7, 3.70 ERA), who has lost two of his last three starts. The Chicago White Sox jumped on Berrios early in his last start. He gave up two singles and a Jose Abreu homer in just five pitches. Overall, he allowed four runs on nine hits in three innings.
Berrios has surrendered 12 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings over his last three starts.
“Now I can see that over the last three outings, early in the games, they’ve been so aggressive against me,” Berrios said. “I have to mind that and make an adjustment around that. Baseball is a game where you have to make adjustments day by day. Now we have an opportunity to do it for the next start.”
Berrios is quite familiar with the Tigers’ lineup. As a member of the Minnesota Twins, he pitched 11 times against them, including 10 starts. He went 4-2 with a 5.96 ERA in those outings.
George Springer could be activated from the 10-day injured list after recovering from a knee sprain. In order to protect him, Springer will serve as the designated hitter on a regular basis, according to manager Charlie Montoyo. Springer is batting .269 with 16 home runs and 35 RBIs in 49 games.
Detroit’s sparkplug outfielder, Akil Baddoo, has gone hitless in 10 at-bats since returning from the IL this week. Baddoo went 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot on Saturday, when the Blue Jays pulled out a 3-2, 10-inning victory.
“He hasn’t had successful at-bats but he’ll put up a long at-bat,” Hinch said. “As long as he stays in the strike zone, he’s going to be OK. If he starts to expand, like every hitter, he gets into a little bit of trouble.”
The Tigers took three of the first four games of the season series prior to Toronto’s extra-inning win. Following Sunday’s game, the Blue Jays open a six-game homestand against Baltimore and Oakland as they try to remain in the American League wild-card hunt.
–Field Level Media