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Game 53: Angels at Tigers

Ervin Santana (0-2, 9.20) vs. Justin Verlander (6-2, 3.63), 7:05 p.m. EST

With the Red Sox sweeping their way out of town, the Detroit Tigers try to get back to winning time with an AL West team coming into Comerica Park for the weekend. Against the west this season, Detroit is 12-3. Two of those losses, however, were to this Angels team out in Anaheim. But I don't think the Tigers were pitching as well back then as they are now. Of course, you could also say they were hitting better back in late April, as well.

Since recovering from a strained elbow that put him on the DL, Ervin Santana started off with two strong performances, but really struggled in his past two starts. In his last 6.1 innings, he's allowed 15 runs and 21 hits (three of them homers). And one of those games was against Seattle, which we know is not an offensive juggernaut.

Santana actually made major progress last season toward correcting what was one of the more brutal road splits (10-22 record) for a starting pitcher. It's too soon to tell if he'll maintain that pattern this season, but just for conversation's sake, let's mention that Santana is 2-2 with a 7.17 ERA in four career starts at Comerica Park.

Justin Verlander was knocked around by an opposing lineup for the first time in seven starts last weekend, giving up nine hits (and three runs) to the Orioles. The only other team to get nine hits against Verlander this season? The Los Angeles of Anaheim, in what was probably Verlander's worst start of the year. Maybe you remember him sitting in the dugout with a stunned look of disbelief on his face, after letting the game get away in the fifth inning.

Since that game, however, Verlander has been outstanding, winning seven of eight starts. (And in the game he didn't win, he ended up with a no-decision.) They don't just hand that AL Pitcher of the Month award out to anyone, you see. He'll likely have to pitch well to add to that win total tonight, however. Because his manager isn't exactly helping him out with the lineup he's put together.

Miguel Cabrera is sitting out as a precaution, to rest that hamstring he tweaked yesterday. That puts Magglio Ordonez at the clean-up spot as the designated hitter, while Jeff Larish gets the start at first base. Josh Anderson leads off, playing left field, while Clete Thomas bats third, as the right fielder.

Halos Heaven has your SB Nation opposing view for this weekend's series.

UPDATE: Here are your starting lineups:


Los Angeles Angels @ Detroit Tigers

06/05/09 7:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels Detroit Tigers
Chone Figgins - 3B Josh Anderson - LF
Bobby Abreu - RF Placido Polanco - 2B
Vladimir Guerrero - DH Clete Thomas - RF
Torii Hunter - CF Magglio Ordonez - DH
Kendry Morales - 1B Curtis Granderson - CF
Juan Rivera - LF Brandon Inge - 3B
Erick Aybar - SS Jeff Larish - 1B
Jeff Mathis - C Gerald Laird - C
Howie Kendrick - 2B Adam Everett - SS