Game 17 Preview: Tigers at Angels

USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers will look to get their offense going today in an afternoon game against the Angels on "Big FOX," as Rod and Mario call it. Rick Porcello and Garrett Richards are your starting pitchers.

Detroit Tigers (9-7) at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (5-10)

Time/Place: 3:05 p.m., Angels Stadium of Anaheim

SB Nation blog: Halos Heaven

Media: FOX (broadcast map), Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: RHP Rick Porcello (0-1, 5.11 ERA) vs. RHP Garrett Richards (0-0, 4.22 ERA)

Richards made five appearances against the Tigers last season, four of which were scoreless. This includes a start against them in which he spread three hits and four walks over seven innings. He only struck out four Tigers total in his 10 2/3 innings, slightly under his average of 5.96 strikeouts per nine innings in 2012. This is a bit puzzling, as his fastball ranks among the fastest in the game. Last year, his fastball averaged 94.7 miles per hour, the same as some guy named Justin Verlander. Richards' strikeout totals in the high minors don't suggest that he's going to be able to rack up punchouts at the same rate as most pitchers with that kind of velocity.

Richards relies primarily on a fastball-slider combination, throwing a four-seam and two-seam fastball about two-thirds of the time. He throws the slider to both right and left-handed hitters, but will use it a bit more often against righties. He will mix in an occasional changeup to lefties, but it hasn't been particularly effective. He has been much more reliant on using the two-seamer to get ground ball outs this season, but with just 95 2/3 career innings under his belt, it's tough to put any stock into these percentages when comparing to career norms.

Porcello hasn't pitched well against the Angels in his career, allowing 26 earned runs in 40 1/3 innings with a 1.438 WHIP. He made two starts against them last season, both at Comerica Park. The first one was very Porcello-like, allowing one run through the first four innings before giving up four more runs in the fourth and fifth innings (luckily for him, Torii Hunter is on his side this time). His second start was a great outing, but he was still saddled with the loss because the offense only scored one run. As for analysis? Porcello needs to locate his fastball better. His curveball and changeup have been excellent so far in 2013 -- opposing hitters are a combined 1-for-17 off those two pitches -- but his fastball location has gotten him into trouble, per usual. His relief appearance last week was very promising, though.

Outlook

The Tigers have done themselves a favor on this road trip by already winning four games, ensuring themselves no worse than a 4-5 record in their only west coast swing of the season. That said, another win would be nice. The last time the Tigers had a winning record on a west coast trip was in April of 2011, when they went 4-3 against the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, who combined for 183 losses that season.

Prediction

Tim McCarver makes a fool of himself trying to explain OPS or WAR today.

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