Tigers Look To (Finally) Beat Angels
After Tuesday’s 14-8 hammering of the Tigers, the Angels picked up a second win in the series Wednesday, pulling away in the seventh inning to leave Jim Leyland’s side disappointed again.
The Tigers maintain control of the AL Central – 2 1/2 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians – but the team’s performance in this series has raised some eyebrows. A win on Thursday would go a long way to righting the ship before the club hits the road for 11 games against teams with a record above .500.
Detroit got off to a good start Wednesday, taking a 2-0 lead on back-to-back homers from Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. The pair took advantage of a late pitching change that saw Billy Buckner (1-0, 3.18 ERA) take the mound in place of Tommy Hanson (4-2, 5.10 ERA), who reported tightness in his right forearm as he warmed up.
The Tigers relinquished the lead in the top of the third inning as Mike Trout sent rookie Jose Alvarez’s pitch over the left field wall, scoring J.B. Shuck who had doubled earlier. Detroit responded in the bottom half of the frame with Prince Fielder’s single scoring former Angel, Hunter.
The 3-2 lead held until the sixth inning when Eric Aybar sent another Alvarez pitch out of the park for two runs. Alvarez was yanked from the game. The Angels added three more runs in the seventh to effectively put the game away. Prince Fielder crossed home plate on a pass ball in the eighth.
The game finished 7-4, leaving Alvarez (1-1, 3.78 ERA) with his first career loss and the Tigers with an eighth straight to the Angels.
The Angels have certainly gotten lucky this series, missing Detroit’s aces Justin Verlander (8-5, 3.90 ERA) and Max Scherzer (11-0, 3.05 ERA). Both will be starting in this weekend’s series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Tigers will send Doug Fister (6-5, 3.66 ERA) to the mound on Thursday afternoon. The right-hander has lost four of his last six games, recording just one win in that period. Last time out (June 21), the 29-year-old yielded six earned runs on 11 hits in just 3 1/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox.
Fister went seven innings against the Angels on April 21, giving up three runs on five hits whilst recording five strikeouts. He left the game without a decision, while the Tigers went on to lose the game 4-3.
Jered Weaver (1-4, 4.65 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Angels. The 30-year-old right-hander has had a tough time of it since returning from an elbow injury at the end of May. He’s recorded a 1-3 record in five games, allowing 33 hits and 17 runs.
In his last start (June 21 against the Pittsburgh Pirates) he allowed four runs on nine hits as the Angels fell 5-2. He’ll hope that the club’s impeccable record against the Tigers this season will be enough to carry him to a win.
In order to pick up the win on Thursday, Detroit (42-34, 26-15 home) will need to silence the Angels’ bats. Los Angeles (35-43, 15-20 road) has outscored the Tigers 21-12 this series; 43-16 this season; and 55-21 in eight undefeated games. That’s the sort of output you expect from a lineup that includes Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton, but it’s not the type of output we’re used to from the Angels this season.
Following Thursday’s getaway game, Detroit will travel to Tampa Bay for three games before visiting the Toronto Blue Jays (four games) and Cleveland Indians (three games). Los Angeles meanwhile heads south to take on the Houston Astros this weekend.
Game Day Betting Lines
Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers odds for 6/27/13 are available now.
Despite a second loss in the series on Wednesday, Detroit (-135) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+125) on the moneyline, although with noticeably closer odds. However, most sportsbooks have shortened odds of the Tigers winning. TopBet currently has the AL Central side at -150.
The over/under opened at 8 1/2.
Both Detroit (42-33-1) and Los Angeles (45-32-1) have favored the over this season. Both games this series have seen the total go over, as did two-of-three in the earlier series between the clubs. The over again looks like the smart bet.
The underdog Angels (-170) are expected to cover the 1.5 spread though, as they have done in both games this series.