Tigers-Angels Preview

The last time the Detroit Tigers won a road series against the Los Angeles Angels, Justin Verlander was still two seasons away from winning his AL Cy Young Award.

He and his club will try to revert to that form Monday night as the Tigers begin a three-game series at Angel Stadium, though it might be Los Angeles who needs an impressive outing from their starting pitcher after playing 13 innings on Sunday.

The Tigers (24-25) are 4-17 in Los Angeles since taking two of three from Aug. 24-26, 2009. That includes a four-game sweep last season and seven in a row with Detroit scoring 1.7 runs per game and batting .183.

Verlander (4-4, 4.02 ERA), the 2011 AL Cy Young winner, may struggle to make such numbers hold up, though he has won consecutive starts and is coming off his best of the year.

The right-hander gave up three hits with 10 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings of Tuesday's 3-1 home win over Philadelphia. His manager has seen this sort of stuff coming for a few more starts.

"Pretty much the same as what we've seen the last four starts," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB's official website. "His fastball's really working for him. He's getting swings and misses on it. He's mixing in his other stuff. His slider was really good, a hard slider tonight, borderline cutter at times. But he was outstanding."

The same goes for his last outing against the Angels as Verlander carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning before a Chris Iannetta double ended it. But that was in Detroit. In Anaheim, Verlander is 2-3 with a 6.19 ERA in six career starts.

Cliff Pennington (0 for 13), Kole Calhoun (0 for 7 with four strikeouts), Mike Trout (1 for 9) and Yunel Escobar (3 for 15) have all struggled against him.

The Angels counter with Jhoulys Chacin, who is three starts into his career with Los Angeles and still seeking his first win. Chacin (0-1, 4.67), who came over from Atlanta on May 11, gave up three runs and five hits in six innings of Tuesday's 4-1 loss in Texas for his first decision with his new club.

The right-hander, who's spent the overwhelming portion of his career in the NL, has never faced the Tigers but has almost always known how to retire Justin Upton (2 for 20 with 11 strikeouts).

The Angels (22-28) are coming off Sunday's 8-6, 13-inning home loss to Houston, in which they leaned on the bullpen for eight innings of work. Johnny Giavotella struck out three times in the final five innings with seven total runners on base, but he's batting .397 in 16 games since entering play on May 13 batting .200.

"Johnny is one of our guys,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He's going to put the ball in play there (most times). He had three opportunities this afternoon and couldn't put the ball in play. That's not like Johnny.''

The Tigers dropped the last two of a three-game series in Oakland after winning their previous three series. Victor Martinez had three of their five hits and is batting .481 on a seven-game hitting streak.


More MLB