Friday MLB Preview – Angels at Tigers

A pair of aces face off in a game involving two teams that have struggled mightily since the All-Star break.

Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers

Los Angeles was swept in a three-game series by the worst team in the league, as they leave Baltimore and head to Detroit.  In the series, the starting staff posted an 8.80 ERA, which led manager Mike Scioscia to hold a closed door meeting after Thursday’s 5-4 loss.  This is obviously a disappointing series and a disappointing game tonight,” he said after the meeting.  The Angels are now 7-12 since the All-Star break and have lost seven of their last eight road games.  The club is 1-4 this month (-440) and 33-29 in August the last three seasons combined (-880).  Los Angeles faces off against Detroit for the first time since May 2, trailing 5-2 in the season series, as the club is 11-16 against the AL Central division this season.  The Halos are 49-26 overall versus the Tigers since the start of the 2002 season.  Outfielder Bobby Abreu will lead the offense this weekend, owning a career average of .350 (50-for-143) against Detroit.

Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver is 10-7 with a 3.04 ERA in 23 starts this season and is coming off one of his best starts of the year.  In his last outing, he picked up a 4-1 home victory over the AL West-leading Rangers, allowing an unearned run and four hits over seven innings.  The right-hander is an even 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 12 road starts this year, giving up 11 home runs in 74 innings.  Los Angeles hasn’t tallied back-to-back wins with him on the hill since June 13-19.  In seven career starts versus the Tigers, Weaver has a losing 2-3 mark and 6.51 ERA.  The Angels are 13-5 in Weaver’s last 18 starts versus the American League Central.

Detroit dropped three of four games against the first place White Sox, including a 6-4, 11-inning loss on Thursday.  “We got the big one there in the last inning to tie it up,” said manager Jim Leyland.  “But we couldn’t hold it.”  The Tigers have won five straight games over the Angels after losing the first two meetings this year.  Leyland’s club is still a solid 36-21 at Comerica Park (+1,170) this season and look to improve upon its even 14-14 record against the AL West division.  Detroit is 8-8 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 this season and 33-28 in this situation the last three years (+60).  The Tigers must turn things around in this series to have any postseason aspirations, as the team is a major league-worst 5-17 since the All-Star break.

Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander is 12-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 22 starts this season, but the team has dropped his last two outings.  In those games, he has allowed three earned runs in each while allowing a combined 11 hits over 15 innings of work.  The offense has provided him just five runs of support over that span.  He is 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 10 home starts this season, tallying 65 strikeouts and issuing just 20 walks in 68 innings of work.  The All-Star right-hander is just 10-9 with a 4.98 ERA in 22 career starts in August, with opponents hitting for a .287 average.  In eight career starts versus the Angels, Verlander has posted a 3-2 record and 4.44 ERA.  He proved victorious earlier in the year at home against Los Angeles on May 2, giving up just a single run on three hits over 8.1 innings.

Bettors will find no help in handicapping against right-handed starters in this contest, as the Angels are 38-37 in this situation (-100) and the Tigers stand at 35-44 (-1,300).  Los Angeles is an even 10-10 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 (+130), which might offer value with the home team being an even 8-8 with a money line of -100 to -125 (-90).

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