Detroit Tigers: Can the Wins Continue in California?
Over the years, the Detroit Tigers have had mixed success against the AL teams in California. Historically, they have not had too many problems with the Oakland Athletics, but they have struggled against the Los Angeles Angels.
After the 7-2 record at the latest home stand, can fans expect the Tigers to move above .500?
The quick answer is yes.
The Tigers begin the trip with three games against the Oakland A’s. In 2015, the Tigers lost four of the six games they played – losing all three played in Detroit. When the Tigers faced the Angels in May of 2015, they lost all three games in the City of Angels.
The only win the Tigers got against the Angels in 2015 was on August 26. This was the memorable game when Justin Verlander was throwing a no-hitter until the ninth inning when Chris Iannetta bounced one off of the left field line. Despite the heartbreaking ending, fans rewarded Verlander with a much-deserved standing ovation.
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Since 2006, the Tigers have a .500 record with each other. In 84 games, they have split the series. Against the Angels, it is an entirely different story. In 81 games, the Tigers have a .395 winning percentage with 32 wins to 49 losses. At home, the Tigers are 22 and 21, but they are 10-28 in LA.
The Tigers have a fairly good chance to continue their winning streak in California. Both the A’s and the Angels are below .500. The Angels are 7.5 games behind the AL West Mariners and the A’s are 9.0 games behind. On the other hand, the Tigers are 3 games behind the White Sox.
The Athletics have already made their annual trek to Detroit. There, the Tigers won three of the four games played at Comerica Park. Michael Fulmer has a good chance to get the win against Sean Manaea on Friday. On Saturday, Matt Boyd will most likely pitch – and if he continues to throw like he has been in Toledo – he should have no problem defeating Jesse Hahn, who is starting in his second game after time in Triple-A ball. Sunday could be another story, as Mike Pelfrey gets another start against Rich Hill, who already defeated the Tigers in late April.
What could be benefitting the Tigers against the A’s is the fact that the Tigers have better batting averages. Only two of the A’s have averages above .300 – Danny Valencia and Jed Lowrie. The Tigers have five players batting over .300 – Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Nick Castellanos, and Cameron Maybin.
After the three games against the A’s, the Tigers go south to LA. Prior to the Tigers, the Angels have a three-game series against the Houston Astros (they are tied for last with the A’s). The Tigers are scheduled to bring Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Jordan Zimmermann to the mound. Fans can expect to see wins from Verlander and Zimmermann. Sanchez could get a win because he will be dueling against Hector Santiago whose numbers are close to Sanchez’s.
The Tigers do have an advantage at the plate against the Angels, too. Like the A’s, the number of starting players with averages above .300 is limited. Of course, Mike Trout is batting above .300. The other player is Yunel Escobar. Perennial powerhouse Albert Pujols is struggling at the plate, batting only .218. He has hit 9 home runs and Trout has 10.
As a team, the Tigers have a .266 team batting average so far this season. The A’s are batting a team average of .244. The Angels have a team batting average of .259. The Tigers are second in the AL to the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz – but that is an entirely different story.
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So, will the Tigers get some wins in California. Against the A’s – it is safe to expect the Tigers to win 2 of 3 and the same with the Angels. If the Tigers can give superior run support to both Sanchez and Pelfrey – there is a slight chance that the Tigers could sweep – but don’t count on it.