Series Preview: Angels Begin 10-Game Road Trip Vs. Tigers, Mike Trout Slated To Return
Mike Trout
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

As the Los Angeles Angels woke up on Friday morning, there was a bit of good news and bad news. The bad news is that they would be starting a 10-game road trip that includes the Detroit Tigers, as well as two of the best teams in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. The good news is that Mike Trout may make his return to the lineup.

All indications are pointing to Trout being in the Angels lineup on Friday night for the series opener with the Tigers. Trout has not played since July 12, when he was removed due to what was called back spasms at the time, but has since become a rare back condition that may need to be monitored for the rest of his career.

But Trout and the Angels made it known that he would play again this season, and without any setbacks, it appears Friday is that day. This obviously gives them a massive boost at the heart of their order, as it’s not every day a player with a career 1.000 OPS re-joins a lineup.

For a time, the Halos were managing well without Trout. Prior to a three-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners, they had won five of six and were 12-9 in their previous 21 games. But they looked like they had run out of steam against Seattle.

The Tigers, though, have one of the worst records in baseball despite having some intriguing players on their roster. Here, we break down the three games of this weekend series in Detroit.

Game 1: Friday, Aug. 19, 4:10 p.m. PT

For the opener on Friday evening, both the Angels and Tigers have starting pitcher that they hope will be a large part of their future. For L.A., it’s Patrick Sandoval, the 25-year old left-hander who broke out in 2021 but has had mixed results in 2022.

In terms of his ERA and strikeouts numbers (3.42 and 106), Sandoval has been quite good this year. But his WHIP (1.49) is significantly above league average, as he essentially walks a tightrope every start. He allow traffic on the bases, then gets the outs required once he’s in trouble.

He has been searching for a way to end that dangerous strategy, but has yet to come up with a method that has worked in multiple consecutive starts. Luckily, the Tigers have one of the worst offenses in baseball by nearly every metric, giving him a chance to re-work his mindset.

On the Tigers side it’s the 24-year old righty Matt Manning. Manning has only pitched 25.0 innings, but has been solid in that time. He has a 3.24 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, which are noticeable improvements from his 2021 numbers. Against an Angels offense that has struggled throughout the season, Manning may be able to even improve on these numbers.

Game 2: Saturday, Aug. 20, 10:10 a.m. PT

At multiple points throughout this season, Reid Detmers has proven why he was drafted 10th overall by the Angels in 2020 and why he quickly worked his way to the Majors. In just his second season — first full year — he has 18 starts under his belt.

In that time, he’s posted a 3.45 ERA and 1.074 WHIP and has struck out 91 batters in 94.0 innings. He still has to limit his home runs allowed by throwing less center cut strikes, but against a Tigers team that is dead last in home runs, that may not be an issue.

For the Tigers, it’s lefty Tyler Alexander that faces off against Detmers. Alexander has a 2-7 record this season in 54.1 innings, putting up an ERA of 3.98 and a WHIP that hovers the league average at 1.25. Alexander is a pitch-to-contact type, as he has struck out just 28 batters all season.

Game 3: Sunday, Aug. 21, 10:40 a.m. PT

The Angels close this series with their ace — and second-best hitter — on the mound in Shohei Ohtani. By every metric, Ohtani is having his best season as a pitcher. He’s 10-7 in 117.0 innings with a 2.69 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. He has struck out a ridiculous 165 batters on the year.

The Tigers have their big free agent pitching acquisition on the mound in Eduardo Rodriguez. He has not put up the numbers the Tigers hoped for when they inked him to a long-term deal (4.38 ERA and 1.33 WHIP), and he has done this in only 39.0 innings as he’s missed the last three months due to a personal matter.

In this series, the Angels should have the advantage both on the mound and at the plate. But at the onset of a 10-game road trip, it could be difficult to find the motivation. Hopefully Trout’s return and some strong pitching could be what L.A. needs to get back on track after the Seattle series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *