Los Angeles Angels (50-41) vs. Detroit Tigers (47-44)
Time/Place: 7:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Halos Heaven
Media: Fox Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: C.J. Wilson (9-5, 2.43 ERA) vs. Doug Fister (3-6, 4.39 ERA)
I was surprised to find that Wilson has only one career regular season start against the Tigers despite this being his 93rd career start in an AL rotation. That start was a 5-4 Tigers win in April of 2011 where Wilson pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up 4 earned runs. He also pitched Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS, throwing 96 pitches in just 4 2/3 innings. With no Alexi Ogando to bail him out this time, a repeat of that performance would be ideal.
This season, Wilson has looked every part of the ace that the Angels paid for last offseason. Get this: he has only allowed more than 3 earned runs in one start this season, a rain-shortened slaughter at the hands of the Texas Rangers on May 11th. Wilson responded by holding the Rangers to 2 runs in 5 2/3 innings the very next day. Wilson's FIP is 3.64, but when you have both Torii Hunter and Mike Trout behind you in the outfield, this is to be expected.
I don't know about you, but I was extremely encouraged by Fister's last start. Struggling opponent or not, Fister looked like he was back in 2011 form. Case-in-point: Fister's curveball and his ability to throw it for strikes. This is bananas.
He threw 20 of them on Friday; 18 of them were for strikes, with 15 of those strikes of the swinging variety. While the Orioles are the worst team in the AL at hitting curveballs -- h/t GWilson for that stat sometime over the weekend; dude, share your magical secret statistical database -- the command is still scary.
While Fister looked good in his last start, Wilson has been as consistent as anyone in baseball this year. He doesn't have stellar career numbers against the Tigers -- everyone but Jhonny Peralta has good numbers against Wilson in limited at bats -- he has been on another level so far this season. The Angels offense seems to be rounding into form in limited action after the All-Star Break. I think their chances today rely entirely on whether Fister can out-pitch Wilson.
Fister throws a no-hitter today (love you too, Tokarz).