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Series Preview: Meaningless Baseball In September

Both the Blue Jays and Tigers have had disappointing seasons. While neither came into 2017 a World Series favourite, both had aspirations of competing for the playoffs. But it’s the beginning of September, and the Tigers and Blue Jays are playing a series that bares virtually zero consequence.

The Jays have been torn apart by injuries, while the Tigers underachieved and fired off most of the assets they had — Justin Verlander, Justin Wilson, J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila, Justin Upton — and are now a walking shell of their former selves. So this weekend’s series will be about two teams trotting out some 2018 roster hopefuls because spring training began early in Detroit and Toronto.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Marcus Stephan will start for the Blue Jays in the series opener on Friday, which is a great sign because it means he wasn’t injured on that line drive in Baltimore last weekend. Stroman took a 106 mile-per-hour liner from Mark Trumbo right off of his arm and rolled around on the ground for a few minutes before getting up, and, in the most boss-ass Marcus Stroman of things ever, begged to pitch again. It was a terrifying moment that seemed ever so 2017 but thankfully it wasn’t serious. Stroman leads the Blue Jays starters with a 3.08 ERA and a strong finish will likely net him some Cy Young votes.  

Buck Farmer, who’s been up and down between Triple-A and the big leagues for a few years now, will start for the Tigers. Farmer has made six starts for the Tigers this season and has been tagged for a 7.18 ERA, which seems a little high considering his peripherals — 9.6 strikeouts per nine and 2.7 walks per nine — aren’t that bad.

Saturday at 4:07 ET

Chad Bell, a 28-year-old rookie who’s transitioned from the bullpen to the rotation, will start for the Tigers on Saturday. Bell had a solid start to the season as a reliever, but the wheels kind of fell of as time went on and he was handed three or four innings of mop up duty on this struggling Tigers squad. In his first start of the season last week in Cleveland, Bell got slammed for five runs on eight hits in just four innings of work, and now owns a 5.98 ERA for the season.

Toronto hasn’t announced their starter for Saturday or Sunday’s games, but if we’re going off of the current rotation, it’ll be Brett Anderson making his third start for the Jays. Anderson has been excellent for the Jays in two outings, shutting down the Red Sox and Orioles for a combined four runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Sunday at 1:07 ET

Neither team has announced starters for Sunday’s game, but the rotation would suggest it’s J.A. Happ for Toronto and, uh, Artie Lewicki for the Tigers. At least that’s who started for Detroit on Monday. Who knows! Who cares!