However, a 5-3 win for the Blue Jays in the series opener dropped the Tigers to 1-3 in their last four games. Still, a lineup without Bautista likely comes as positive news to Saturday's starter, Anibal Sanchez, who is making his Tigers debut.
Detroit acquired the right-hander along with second baseman Omar Infante on Monday. The seven-year veteran will be pitching for a new team for the first time in his career, and said Tuesday he was excited to enter into a playoff race.
"It's an opportunity for me to get to the playoffs," Sanchez said. "It would be my first playoff appearance. I just want to do my job for this team."
Sanchez was 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA this year pitching for the Marlins and he went 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA against the American League
One of those losses came against Toronto, which Sanchez last faced on June 22. It was his shortest outing of the season (3 1/3 innings) and arguably his worst. He got pulled after yielding six runs on seven hits and four walks.
"I had a good feeling that everything was coming good today, because I had a good bullpen and felt good warming up, but everything was behind in the count," Sanchez said after the outing. "I got the walks in a bad situation and I think that's part of that. Right now, I just need to [turn] the page."
Saturday will be all about turning the page for Sanchez. When he takes the hill, his run with the Tigers begins.
He'll be opposed by 22-year-old Henderson Alvarez, who is 1-1 with a 7.41 ERA in three July starts against the Red Sox, Yankees and Royals. He'll hope to rebound after allowing a season-high seven runs in his last start.
Tigers: Turf shouldn't be a problem for young outfielders
One of the biggest challenges of playing in Rogers Centre is the artificial turf. However, given the Tigers' recent success in Toronto -- including their last trip in May 2011 when Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter -- manager Jim Leyland doesn't see it being an issue.
"Our guys are pretty young -- [Quintin] Berry, [Austin] Jackson, [Brennan] Boesch are all young guys who can move around on the turf," Leyland said of his starting outfielders.
Jackson enters the game batting .383 (23-for-60) in his career against Toronto, with three doubles, three triples, a home run, 17 RBIs and 14 runs scored. His batting average is tops in the Majors since 2010 against the club.
Blue Jays: Bautista not yet swinging bat, hopes to start soon
Bautista, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist, hopes to beginning swinging a bat early next week. He's been out since July 16 and is eligible to return Aug. 1, but it's too early to tell if he'll be ready.
"Improving by the day and yet at this point not ready to put a bat in hand hand," manager John Farrell said Friday. "We're probably looking at early next week ... to begin dry swings."
Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar were late scratches from Friday's lineup with lower back tightness. It's unclear if they'll be available for Saturday's contest, but Farrell certainly hopes to have them.
Farrell knows his team will be tested in this series. The Tigers took four of six games last season and entered the series having won 14 of their last 19 games.
"They're playing as billed in the offseason," Farrell said Friday. "The kid Berry has stepped in and done a very good job for them in the two-hole ... the middle of the order is going to be as good as anybody we'll face, for sure. And Jackson's having a year that seems to be like he did when he was in his rookie year. So it's a deep lineup."
The Tigers have defeated the Blue Jays in 10 of their last 17 games dating back to September 2009. They've won five of their last nine at Rogers Centre in that stretch.