TORONTO — That’s what David Purcey drew for his first Major League start for the Blue Jays. The 6-foot-5 left-hander has been given the task of taking on a sleeping giant in the Detroit Tigers, who boast one of the more intimidating lineups in the game.
Gibbons chuckled and mustered an “I don’t know” when asked if he’d rather have a pitcher making his debut against a tough team like Detroit or against perhaps a lesser opponent. It’s definitely a good test for Purcey, but it certainly could be a tall task, too.
“They’re due to explode,” Gibbons said about the struggling Tigers. “You’ve got to pitch well. You’ve got to hold them in check a little bit and you’ve got to score your share of runs. You go into this series figuring that they’re going to put some runs on the board, so you’ve got to do the same thing.
“It’s a special day for him,” he added about Purcey. “You want him to enjoy it, because you only get that debut one time. But it’s going to be a big test. They’re predominantly a right-handed hitting team and have been one of the biggest run producers in the game for the last five or six years. He’s definitely got to pitch. I’m sure they like hard-throwing lefties.”
It’ll be one and done for Mr. Purcey, too, even if he throws a no-hitter. The Jays are expected to make a roster move after the game to add a right-handed reliever to the bullpen. It’s looking like Shawn Camp may be the one to get the call. On Thursday, Camp picked up his fourth save of the year for Triple-A Syracuse and he has worked 10 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and no walks.
Out of the lineup today is first baseman Lyle Overbay, who has hit just two homers in 277 at-bats since breaking his right hand on June 3 last year. Overbay has no homers in 16 games and 59 ABs this season. Everyone says the hand is no longer an issue, but the power drop-off has been considerable. Overbay hit 22 homers in ’06 and had 8 through 55 games before breaking his hand in ’07.
Now, the Jays don’t necessarily need Overbay to be a home-run hitter, but Toronto could certainly benefit from getting 15-20 from his left-handed bat, especially with question marks existing throughout the lineup. Homers aside, Overbay only has two doubles so far this year, too. Then again, he only had two April doubles in ’06 and finished with 46.
STAT OF THE DAY: Last night, Roy Halladay threw a complete game — nothing out of the ordinary there. No Blue Jays outfieders recorded a putout during his nine-inning effort, though. It was the first time since Aug. 19, 1997 (Detroit’s Willie Blair) that a pitcher turned a complete game with no outfield putouts.
DETROIT (5-11) at TORONTO (8-8)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at the Rogers Centre
Ivan Rodriguez, C
Placido Polanco, 2B
Gary Sheffield, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Carlos Guillen, 1B
Edgar Renteria, SS
Marcus Thames, LF
Brandon Inge, CF
PITCHING: LHP Kenny Rogers
Shannon Stewart, LF
Aaron Hills, 2B
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Frank Thomas, DH
Rod Barajas, 1B
Marco Scutaro, 3B
Gregg Zaun, C
John McDonald, SS
PITCHING: LHP David Purcey