The Detroit Tigers look to carry over the momentum from a walk-off victory over Kansas City on Sunday into a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Though the Detroit Tigers come into the series riding high after taking two of three from division rivals Kansas City, the Angels are reeling after back to back losses against Houston in Monterrey, Mexico. A few interesting storylines are in play including Brad Ausmus’ return to the Motor City and the possibility of Albert Pujols joining the 2,000 RBI club, so let’s take a look at three ways in which the Tigers can improve their chances at coming out with another series victory.
Detroit Tigers offense vs. LA Angels pitching
One thing that helped Detroit be victorious in two of three games over the weekend was the fact that Kansas City’s pitching staff is the fourth worst in the major leagues. The Angels pitching staff also ranks in the MLB’s bottom five with a team ERA of 5.05. With the Tigers pitching staff coming in around the middle of the major league pack, it certainly helps the team’s struggling offense to go against a squad with equally struggling pitchers.
In tonight’s series opener, Detroit gets to face righty Griffin Canning who will be making just his second career major league start. Canning made his MLB debut last Tuesday against the Blue Jays and surrendered three earned runs on four hits in just 4.1 IP. Tyler Skaggs is set to start for LA on Wednesday with a 3.12 ERA through five starts on the season.
Hopefully, Detroit’s troubled offense can continue getting a boost from facing one of the league’s most struggling pitching staffs.
Spoil Shohei Ohtani’s return
2018 AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani will make his season debut in Detroit tonight seven months after undergoing Tommy John surgery, according to ESPN. Ohtani hit .285 with 22 HRs and 61 RBIs in 104 games during his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018.
Ohtani coming back into the lineup adds a significant boost of power to the top of LA’s lineup, as he is slated to bat second just ahead of Mike Trout. However, two of Detroit’s projected starters in this series (Daniel Norris tonight and Matt Boyd tomorrow) are lefties, which Ohtani has struggled against. Ohtani, a lefty hitter, hit just .222 against left-handed pitching last year and is playing his first game in the pitcher-friendly Comerica Park, which could give Detroit the chance to spoil Ohtani’s return.
Detroit Tigers need more Ronny Rodriguez
IF Ronny Rodriguez is yet to make enough of a mark to be a regular staple in the Detroit Tigers lineup, but he has been on somewhat of a role as of late. Rodriguez started in all three games against the Royals and had a stellar series with five hits and three RBIs in three games.
Rodriguez is in the lineup at first base and batting fifth in tonight’s series opener, according to MLB.com. Manager Ron Gardenhire seems to be making the right move since Detroit’s offense needs as much help as it can get. Having Rodriguez in the lineup should give the Tigers a much-needed boost as he has recorded at least one hit in each of his last five games.
Game one of the three-game series is set to being tonight at 7:10 pm from Comerica Park in Detroit. What factors do you think give the Tigers an advantage against the Angels? Feel free to let us know in the comments section down below.