Los Angeles Angels (49-41) vs. Detroit Tigers (47-43)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Halos Heaven
Pitching Matchup: Garrett Richards (2-1, 4.21 ERA) vs. Jacob Turner (0-0, 1.80 ERA)
Richards started the season in the minors, pitching for the Angels' AAA affiliate in Salt Lake City. He is 5-3 with a 5.28 ERA in AAA this season, but those figures include a 3.1 IP, 8 ER tune-up start last Thursday. Richards started off quickly after his late May call up, winning two of his first three starts while allowing just 2 earned runs. After that, he has struggled. He has allowed 20 runs in just 15 1/3 innings and has allowed at least 9 hits in each of his last three starts. He has also demonstrated some control issues in the majors, walking over 4.5 batters per 9 innings in both of his big league seasons.
No matter the motives of the Tigers' brass, Turner stands to gain a lot with a good outing or two in the coming weeks. With Drew Smyly ailing, Turner could potentially step into a more regular role with the big league club if he pitches well. Turner was solid in his only other MLB start this year, a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, but also allowed 5 walks in just 5 innings. The silver lining? He didn't allow any steals. Of course, the Cardinals also don't possess a base stealing threat like Mike Trout, who no doubt will look to swipe a bag or two if he gets on base.
This one is pretty simple: allow fewer baserunners than the other guy and you're probably going to win. Contrary to what you're probably thinking right now, the Tigers are the more patient team at the plate in terms of walks drawn. Detroit has earned 272 free passes on the season to LA's 245, though both of those figures are still in the bottom half of the American League. Also, it's highly unlikely that Turner will continue to walk a batter per inning. Richards, on the other hand, has not shown that he can keep the ball in the strike zone with regularity. Piece together a few clutch hits (harder than we think, I know) and the Tigers could walk away with a 2-0 series lead.
Turner gets his first career win tonight.
Angels may turn to Richards for Tuesday start - MLB.com, Alden Gonzalez
"Richards has struggled mightily of late, giving up 12 runs over his last two outings for the Angels, then getting charged with eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first start back with Salt Lake on Thursday."
Tigers vs Angels Series Preview - Walkoff Woodward, Cameron Scott
"The pitching matchups in the series, on paper, seem to favor the Tigers, at least slightly...They face 3 guys who are either really bad or just really not that good, and 1 guy in Wilson who is pretty good but sorta lucky."