Tigers Pregame: Sanchez takes the mound for pivotal Game 3

Anibal Sanchez pitches against the Chicago White Sox on September 22 (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Tigers)
Anibal Sanchez pitches against the Chicago White Sox on September 22 (Getty Images)

Jarrod Parker (12-8, 3.97) vs. Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57)

After a dramatic split of two pitching duels in Oakland, the ALDS comes to Detroit on Monday, where the hometown Tigers turn to Anibal Sanchez for a pivotal Game 3.

Sanchez’ regular season 2.57 ERA was tops in the American League. He’s a leading candidate for the AL Cy Young award with teammate Max Scherzer, and boasts a 8-3 record at Detroit’s Comerica Park in 2013. Sanchez returned to Detroit before Game 2 on Saturday for an extra day of rest.

“It’s something the team did for me,” he said. “I think it’s going to help me.”

A hot topic of conversation, the Tigers normally potent offense has been anything but that over the past nine games dating back to the regular season.  The Tigers are averaging just 1.6 runs per game since September 22, prompting manager Jim Leyland to include Jhonny Peralta in Monday’s lineup. The club’s starting shortstop for most of the past two seasons, Peralta will start in left field and bat sixth.

“We’re putting him in there today to try to get some offensive punch,” said Leyland.

Oakland starter Jarrod Parker hopes to follow the performance of A’s Game 2 starter, Sonny Gray. Gray pitched eight scoreless innings for Oakland, matching the Tigers’ Justin Verlander blow-for-blow on Saturday.

“I can’t put into words how great he was Saturday and how much fun that was to watch,” said Parker of Gray’s performance. “It’s a good learning experience to watch him throw well like that.”

Against Sanchez, Parker expressed confidence in his ability to do the same.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’ve ironed some things out and I feel great.”

First pitch is 5:07 PM at Comerica Park. Game 3 will be broadcasted on MLB Network.

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