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12:37 PM PT1:37 PM MT2:37 PM CT3:37 PM ET15:37 ET19:37 GMT3:37 12:37 PM MST2:37 PM EST3:07 PM VEN23:37 UAE1:37 PM CT, March 28, 2019
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 45,048

Expectations low as Blue Jays, Tigers clash

According to STATS
According to STATS

Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays

  1. The Tigers haven't won any of their last five series in Toronto. The only place where they currently have a longer streak of not winning a series is Anaheim with nine straight. Detroit's 5-12 record in Toronto since 2014 is tied for its worst in any city in that span (Oakland, Kansas City).
  2. Detroit's .395 win percentage over the past two seasons -- 64-98 record in both - is second worst in the majors ahead of only Baltimore at .377 (122-202). The Tigers' 4.97 ERA in that span is also the worst in baseball besides the Orioles (5.07).
  3. The Blue Jays are one of only four teams to hit 1000 homers over the past five seasons (1069), and the only team to have more in that span is Baltimore with 1101. Toronto is the only team to hit at least 200 homers in each of the past four seasons.
  4. Jordan Zimmermann has totaled 27 quality starts in three years with Detroit after having at least 21 in each of his final four seasons with Washington. He's been much better before the All-Star break in a Tigers uniform, going 18-12 with a 4.61 ERA, compared to 6-16 with a 6.36 ERA after the break.
  5. Marcus Stroman had just a 2.14 strikeout-walk ratio during an injury-plagued 2018 after posting a 3.06 mark in his first four major league seasons. Stroman, listed at just 5-foot-8, is the only pitcher on Toronto's active roster under 6-feet tall.
  6. Miguel Cabrera has played 16 years in the majors, turns 36 in April and is one RBI shy of Ernie Banks' total of 1636, which ranks 32nd all-time. The 35-year-old Cabrera is 35 homers away from 500 for his career, and he's currently tied for 35th place all-time with Dave Winfield with 465 home runs.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 3/28/2019 thru 3/31/2019

When the Detroit Tigers and the Toronto Blue Jays play each other these days, it is easy to long for what used to be.

The Tigers and the Blue Jays had one of the better rivalries in baseball in the 1980s when they battled it out in the American League East.

The Blue Jays are still in the East while the Tigers have long been in the AL Central. They don't see each other as much as they used to.

When the Tigers visit the Blue Jays on Thursday for Opening Day, neither team can be expected to do much this season to erase the fond memories of the past.

The Tigers were 64-98 last season and the Blue Jays were 73-89.

Jordan Zimmermann will pitch the opener for the Tigers and fellow right-hander Marcus Stroman will start for the Blue Jays.

Zimmermann added a curveball and changeup to his repertoire after having core muscle surgery following last season. He was 7-8 with a 4.52 ERA in 25 starts last season.

"This is pretty much where I expected to be if I had a healthy spring," said Zimmermann, who also pitched the opener last season. "The body feels real good going into the regular season. I am ready, ready to go play some meaningful games."

Zimmermann is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four career starts against Toronto. He won his only start against the Blue Jays last season, allowing five hits, one run, no walks and striking out six in seven innings.

Miguel Cabrera has shown in spring training that he can still be a force for Detroit as he approaches his 36th birthday with four impressive home runs this spring. His season was curtailed last year because of a biceps injury.

"He's feeling really good, starting to see it really good," Gardenhire said. "That tells you where he's at."

Said Cabrera: "I feel good. I feel healthy. And I want to feel that in the season."

Stroman, who was hampered by shoulder and blister issues last season, will be the Opening Day starter for the second time in his career.

"I think it just feeds into my personality, and who I am as a person," Stroman said. "The greater the stage, the bigger the lights, the more I feel I'm really able to lock it in. Something I feel I've always had since I was a young age."

Stroman, who was the 2016 Opening Day starter, said his shoulder "feels great."

"I haven't felt like this since 2017," he said. "Last year was a battle, so just to be able to go out there knowing that I have my entire arsenal and repertoire in the tank, it's going to be a fun year."

Stroman was 4-9 with a 5.54 ERA in 19 starts last season and 13-9, 3.09 in 33 starts in 2017.

The Blue Jays are in admitted rebuilding process. They have not made the postseason since 2016 when they reached the AL Championship Series for the second straight year.

Part of the rebuilding involves going with a rookie catcher in Danny Jansen after Russell Martin was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Luke Maile returns as the other catcher.

Stroman likes what he has seen from Jansen.

"He's had a great mix with me so far," Stroman said. "I'm a guy that wants to get to all six of my pitches, so I told him we have to get in sync and get our repertoire going, but like I said, he wants to learn and go into games with a great game plan."

Stroman is 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA in three career starts against the Tigers. He won his only start last season when he allowed four hits, two runs (one earned), no walks and struck out four in seven innings.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 25, 2019

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