This is great, the Angels get to face the Tigers! I’m so excited for every columnist in America to rehash the Mike Trout–Miguel Cabrera AL MVP debate. Right or wrong, it happened. TWICE. It’s over. Let’s live in the now. Let’s leave that poor dead horse alone and instead focus on the continued hand-wringing over the Angels bullpen.
At no point in their all-time series have the Angels led the Tigers. The current record sits at 298-316. However, this is a “what have you done for me lately?” society and what the Angels have done lately is swept the Tigers 6-0 in their 2013 series match-up. So, at least they have that going for them.
FRIDAY, 4/18: Jered Weaver vs. Drew Smyly
First, let’s just hope that Weaver can get out of this game without throwing at anyone’s head. Although if he wants to throw at Ian Kinsler‘s dome, I am willing to look the other way. After that, let’s just hope Weaver can survive the game, period. Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera have both had pretty good success against Weaver, though he has limited them to one combined homer. Then there’s Torii Hunter who has taken Jered deep twice in just 12 PAs. Kinsler has gone yard three times on Weaver, but Jered has mostly gotten the best of him. None of that may matter though if Weaver comes out with his command MIA again.
Smyly has very little track record against the Angels, but one thing that stands out is that he has only issued one walk to the current Halos. It is a small sample size, but he appears to be one of the pitchers who is able to take advantage of the generally aggressive approach of Angels hitters. We will see.
Well, this is intimidating. The Tigers have beaten the pants off Wilson in the past and he matches up with the defending AL Cy Young winner. (GULP!) Looking at the individual match-ups, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler have basically been taking batting practice against Wilson. Heck, even Rajai freakin’ Davis has smacked C.J. around, at least by Rajai Davis standards. It isn’t a total loss for Wilson as he has owned Austin Jackson, but other than that, Detroit has been very unkind.
Of all people, Ian Stewart has seen Scherzer the most. That’s just weird. Chris Iannetta has actually had a lot of success against Scherzer, though he has whiffed a lot. The Trout-Scherzer match-up should be fun because Max has fanned Trout five out of ten times, but Trout has gotten him for three hits, including a homer and a double. Oh, and Albert Pujols, Raul Ibanez and Howie Kendrick can’t touch Scherzer. This might be a good day to load up on lefty bats and give Howie and Freese a day off.
SUNDAY, 4/20: Hector Santiago vs. Rick Porcello
I know Santiago hasn’t been in the league very long, but I would’ve expected him to have more experience with the Motor City Kitties. He’s faced Austin Jackson the most and annihilated him. Actually, he has done quite well against almost all the Tigers, in a small sample size. If there is a problem, it is that he has given them a lot of free passes. That and he somehow served up a dinger to Rajai Davis, who has just 28 career homers.
Porcello is a big groundball guy, so it is no surprise he has such success against Aybar and Kendrick. He’s been pretty hittable otherwise though. In fact, this game will be the one-year anniversary of the Angels lighting Porcello up for nine runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
The Halos lucked for the second series in a row with pitching match-ups as they miss both Verlander and Sanchez. They failed to take advantage of those choice match-ups against the A’s, but I think they’ll do much better this time around. In fact, I think the Halos are going to break out the brooms and that the story of this series will be how bad the bullpen was, the Tigers bullpen, that is.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
I’m going to keep this one simple and just predict that the Angels avoid playing any extra inning games in this series.