The Tigers hopped on a plane after the game in Seattle on Sunday and will open a four game set with the Angels starting tonight in Angels Stadium. Los Angeles of Anaheim just completed a sweep of Toronto over the weekend in which their three starters combined to allowed just five runs to the Jays. There’s also familiar face awaiting should the Tigers trail in the ninth, as Fernando Rodney is now closing games for the Angels.
Joel Pineiro will open the series against Dontrelle Willis. Pineiro (1-1, 2.77) is coming off a start in which he held the Yankees to one run over seven innings. Willis (0-0, 4.91) has been up and down in two starts as well, allowing four earned in five innings last week versus Kansas City.
Pineiro is 6-2 in 11 career games (9 starts) versus Detroit, sporting a 2.62 ERA. His last outing against the Tigers came in 2009 while with the Cardinals. He took the loss in a 6-3 decision on June 18, allowing four runs in seven frames, but just one of those runs was earned. Pineiro is 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA in his last three starts versus Detroit after owning them early in his career.
Willis has made just one career start versus the Angels, coming back in 2005. He allowed 10 hits over seven shutout innings for the Marlins in that game. In fact, Willis has only ever faced three current Angels. Macier Izturis is a career o for 5, while Bobby Abreu is 9 for 34 with 8 K’s against the Detroit lefty and Juan Rivera is 4 for 14.
It might be a good idea to get Alex Avila into the lineup tonight as Gerald Laird has struggled versus Pineiro. In 13 at bats versus the Angels right hander, Laird has just two hits and has fanned four times. Avila has never faced Pineiro. Tonight would also be a good time to keep Ryan Raburn on the bench, as he has fanned twice in three career at bats, without a hit.
Unfortunately, someone does have to play shortstop, but neither option is favorable for Detroit as Pineiro has owned both Ramon Santiago and Adam Everett in their careers. Everett is 0 for six while Santiago has walked three times, but is hitless in seven at bats.
If the Tigers are going to compete this year, they’ll need the offense to produce. So far this season only Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen have homered for Detroit. What do they put in the water in Venezuela?
Now, it’s not as if big power number should be expected form many other players in this lineup, but Brandon Inge must get back to driving the ball out of the park like he did during the first half of last season. Scott Sizemore and Johnny Damon also have enough pop to go deep 15-20 times per year, but have yet to do so. The ball does travel well at the Big A, especially at night, so the Tigers have an opportunity to improve on those numbers over the next four games.
Detroit needs at least two wins here before heading off to Texas for another four gamer to end the trip. The Tigers will send Rick Porcello, Jeremy bonderman, and Justin Verlander out to the mound in the final three games in Anaheim. The Angels are expected to start Scott Kazmir, Jared Weaver, and Joe Saunders against them.
The Tigers are 0-3 in night games this season.