The Los Angeles Angels left the state of Michigan in disarray after dropping two of three to the lowly Detroit Tigers. They would go on to get swept by the Tampa Bay Rays before taking five of six from the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.
Despite the Tigers’ deficiencies on the mound, they held the Angels to just four total runs in three games. If not for a complete game shutout by Patrick Sandoval, that series could have easily wound up in a sweep.
Now, with the venue swapped, the Angels have a chance to make up for their poor performance in Detroit. The Tigers visit for a mid-week three-gamer with the opener taking place on Labor Day.
With the Angels going 6-3 in their previous nine, the team’s rhythm is about as high as it has been in multiple months. But the Halo offense must put together a better performance than they did last time, or than they did in their most recent series against the Houston Astros.
Game 1: Monday, Sep. 5, 6:38 p.m. PT
The Angels open up their series with the Tigers on the Labor Day holiday. Jose Suarez gets the start on the mound for the Angels, and by looking at his entire season’s worth of stats, one might think the Tigers would be able to find success.
However, Suarez has been remarkable in his last six starts. Since the All-Star break, Suarez has tossed 34.0 innings with a 2.10 ERA and 0.971 WHIP. He has limited hard hits and has tightened his command with the introduction of a secondary changeup.
The Tigers have by far the worst offense in Major League Baseball, meaning Suarez — if he continues his recent trends — should be able to dictate Monday’s outing.
On the mound for Detroit is Tyler Alexander, a starter who has struggled with allowing contact. He has struck out only 37 batters in 68.0 innings this season, and has a 4.76 ERA. Of course, the Angels have had their own issues at the plate, but Alexander has been vulnerable to contact all season.
Game 2: Tuesday, Sep. 6, 6:38 p.m. PT
Mike Mayers is currently the listed starter for the Angels in the second game of the series. And based on Phil Nevin’s comments after Mayers’ last start, it’s likely he gets another chance in the rotation. But Mayers is coming off of a difficult outing against the Yankees.
He allowed five earned runs and two more unearned in just 4.0 innings of work, while Touki Toussaint pitched five scoreless in his relief. The Angels did not appear ready to go back to Toussaint as a starter, but they may go that route before Tuesday’s outing.
Eduardo Rodriguez is on the mound for the Tigers, and he has had a mixed bag since returning from a long personal absence. He shut out the Angels in 5.0 innings, then allowed only one run against the Texas Rangers over 6.0 frames. But in his last start vs. the Seattle Mariners, he gave up six runs — five earned — in 4.0 innings.
If the Angels face the same version of Rodriguez that they saw in Detroit two weeks ago, it could be another difficult night in Anaheim.
Game 3: Wednesday, Sep. 7, 1:07 p.m. PT
The Angels return to one of their best starters in Sandoval, who dominated the Tigers in his last outing against them. He tossed a complete game shutout and allowed just four hits with zero walks. On the season, he has a 3.02 ERA and a 1.344 WHIP, the latter of which he’s hoping to fix before the end of the year.
Drew Hutchinson gets the start for the Tigers, and he is another pitcher — like Alexander — whose low strikeout numbers tell the story of a starter prone to big hits. He has just 53 strikeouts to go along with 34 walks in 82.0 innings.
In the middle of the day and a massive Southern California heat wave, the ball should travel well in the series finale. The Angels must be the team to take advantage of this with the easier side of the pitching matchup.