Los Angeles Angels (66-61) at Detroit Tigers (68-58)
Time/Place: 1:00 p.m., Comerica Park
SB Nation Blog: Halos Heaven
Pitching Matchup: RHP Ervin Santana (7-10, 5.46 ERA) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (12-6, 4.27 ERA)
There was a three game stretch in July where Santana hit rock bottom, the middle of which was his start against the Tigers. Overall, he allowed 16 earned runs in 9 innings between those three starts, all three of which were Angels losses. Since then, Santana has rebounded to go 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA in his last five starts. His BABIP during that period is a paltry .189 and he still allowed 6 home runs, so I'm not entirely ready to say that he's back in 2010 form. Still, there's something to be said for a pitcher getting hot at the right time, and Santana looks to be on his game right now.
While it might be a stretch to call Scherzer the Tigers' best starter in August so far, he's definitely a close second. Scherzer is 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four starts, all of them Tigers' wins. He has struck out 35 hitters while walking just seven, and is doing all of this with a .414 BABIP. On one hand, it's incredible to think about what could be if Scherzer continued this production with a normalized BABIP. Alternatively, it's terrifying to think about what his numbers would be like if he weren't striking out a third of the batters he is facing or stranding over 90% of runners this month. Since I'm all for staying positive, I think we'll see a repeat of Scherzer's start against the Angels back in July in which he allowed one run on three hits in 7 strong innings.
With the Chicago White Sox holding all manner of horseshoes, rabbit's feet, and other lucky paraphernalia, the Tigers can't afford to fall too far behind at this point. Now that they finally have an advantage in the pitching matchup this series, they need to win today.
Scherzer adds to his win total with another double digit strikeout performance.