In a surprising turn of events, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins says Aaron Sanchez will stay in the rotation for now, as Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports. The team will utilize a six-man rotation for the time being, as Francisco Liriano will start tomorrow night as scheduled. In addition, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports that the Jays will monitor Sanchez start-to-start and proceed based on how he feels.
Sanchez, 24, boasts a 2.71 ERA in 21 starts this season. It seemed as though Toronto would move the Cy Young candidate to the bullpen just days ago to help limit his innings. This change of direction could have a major impact on the Blue Jays down the stretch, as the team definitely looks stronger with him in the rotation.
In other news, here are tonight's lineups from around the AL East:
The Blue Jays and Orioles both picked up a game on the Red Sox last night, as Hisashi Iwakuma shut down Boston's lineup with 7.1 scoreless innings. All 3 teams are in action again tonight, with the Orioles still just one game ahead of the Blue Jays for the division lead. Troy Tulowitzki returns to the lineup tonight, and will look to help his team win a four game series against the Houston Astros.
|TORONTO BLUE JAYS||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Devon Travis - 2B||George Springer - RF|
|Jose Bautista - RF||Alex Bregman - 3B|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Jose Altuve - 2B|
|Edwin Encarnacion - DH||Carlos Correa - SS|
|Russell Martin - C||Evan Gattis - C|
|Melvin Upton Jr. - LF||Carlos Gomez - DH|
|Troy Tulowitzki - SS||Colby Rasmus - LF|
|Justin Smoak - 1B||Tyler White - 1B|
|Kevin Pillar - CF||Jake Marisnick - CF|
|J.A. Happ - LHP||Mike Fiers - RHP|
J.A. Happ takes the mound for the Blue Jays after a stellar month of July. He allowed just 5 earned runs in 5 July starts, and struck out 11 Orioles in his last appearance. The Astros will play plenty of right-handed hitters tonight, but Happ has actually been better against righties this season.
Mike Fiers will be on the mound for the Astros, coming off 6.1 scoreless innings against the Tigers. He is having a bit of a down year however, and remains homer prone. He's not overpowering, but uses a 5-pitch mix to stay effective. He throws his changeup very often, which helps explain why he has reverse splits. To combat this, Toronto will play Melvin Upton Jr. in place of the left-handed hitting Michael Saunders, who has been struggling of late. Tonight's game gets underway at 8:10 PM ET.
|TEXAS RANGERS||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Shin-Soo Choo - RF||Adam Jones - CF|
|Ian Desmond - CF||Hyun Soo Kim - LF|
|Carlos Beltran - DH||Manny Machado - 3B|
|Adrian Beltre - 3B||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Rougned Odor - 2B||Mark Trumbo - RF|
|Jonathan Lucroy - C||Pedro Alvarez - DH|
|Ryan Rua - 1B||Matt Wieters - C|
|Elvis Andrus - SS||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|Delino DeShields Jr. - LF||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|A.J. Griffin - RHP||Wade Miley - LHP|
Wade Miley makes his first start for the Orioles tonight, and owns a 4.98 ERA for the season. He's been better of late however, as he's posted 3 straight quality starts, and struck out 9 Cubs in his last start on July 30th. Miley really struggles against right-handed hitters, but will have to face 7 in his Orioles debut. Shin-Soo Choo returns to the Rangers lineup tonight for the first time since July 19th, so let's hope we see his terrific on-base skills on display.
A.J. Griffin starts for the Rangers, who typically does not go deep into ball games. He's allowed 2 runs or less in each of his last 2 starts, but is homer prone, which is not a good fit up against a powerful Orioles lineup. This is the first game of the race to get started, as is will get underway at 7:05 PM ET.
|BOSTON RED SOX||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Mookie Betts - RF||Guillermo Heredia - LF|
|Xander Bogaerts - SS||Franklin Gutierrez - RF|
|David Ortiz - DH||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Dustin Pedroia - 2B||Nelson Cruz - DH|
|Jackie Bradley - CF||Dae-Ho Lee - 1B|
|Aaron Hill - 3B||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Travis Shaw - 1B||Mike Zunino - C|
|Ryan Hanigan - C||Leonys Martin - CF|
|Bryce Brentz - LF||Shawn O'Malley - SS|
|Drew Pomeranz - LHP||Ariel Miranda - LHP|
Pomeranz is having a terrific season, but has struggled in his 3 starts as a member of the Red Sox with a 7.53 ERA. He will be up against Ariel Miranda, who is making his first career MLB start. He was acquired for Wade Miley just days ago, and carried a 3.93 ERA in AAA this year. He did pitch well in his last start in the minors with 7 innings of 1 run ball, so let's hope he can carry this with him and shutdown a tough Red Sox lineup.