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Tigers vs. Angels Preview: Jordan Zimmermann looks to win... finally

Zimmermann has a good history in Anaheim, even if the Tigers don’t.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Here we go with Jordan Zimmermann again. The good news is that he will have trouble hurting his July numbers. He enters today with a 14.09 ERA and 5.38 FIP during the month. Though, he is posting his best strikeout ratio for any month this year, at 7.04 punchouts per nine innings.

If there is any silver lining here, Zimmermann has a good history pitching at Angels Stadium. In two whole appearances, he has an 0-2 record. but with a 2.70 ERA with six strikeouts in 13 13 innings.

Zimmermann has been declining for a few years now. This is one of the most drastic changes in terms of strikeout and walk rates — he is striking out fewer hitters, walking more, and his BABIP is way up from recent years.

As the Tigers head into this series, they haven’t won a game since July 21, and they haven’t won a series since late May. Against the Orioles. In the six games since their last win against the Blue Jays, they haven’t scored more than two runs. This offense is struggling.

If the Tigers are going to win this one, the offense needs to show up, and Zimmermann needs to find the small sample sized-success from past trips to Angels Stadium.

Detroit Tigers (30-71) at Los Angeles Angels (55-52)

Time/Place: 10:07 p.m., Angels Stadium of Anaheim
SB Nation site: Halos Heaven
Media: Fox Sports Detroit (maybe), YouTube, Tigers Radio Network
Pitching Matchup: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-8, 7.57 ERA) vs. RHP Jaime Barria (4-3, 6.63 ERA)

Game 103 Pitching Matchup

Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Pitcher IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Zimmermann 60.2 15.2 7.1 4.88 0.7
Barria 38.0 21.8 7.7 4.78 0.2

The only time the Tigers faced Barria, he threw 5 23 shutout innings.

Barria debuted in the majors last year and had a decent season through 129 innings. Despite that, he has been up and down all season. He has appeared in nine games for the Angels, and started four of them.

In his limited time this year, he has been worth 0.2 WAR with a 4.78 FIP. That FIP suggest he is pitching better than his ERA, which is north of 6.50, does, and his strikeout and walk rates are both better this season than last. There’s really nothing in his numbers that suggest he should be overly dominant, or that the Tigers couldn’t snap this six-game skid. What is interesting is that even with five relief appearances, Barria has taken decisions in seven of his nine appearances. That means we can expect something to happen while he is in the game; whether that is good or bad for Detroit is a toss-up.

Barria’s hard hit percentage is slightly above league average and he doesn’t have overpowering velocity. He is going to be exactly what he looks like on paper, which is beatable.

Key matchup: Tigers offense vs. scoring runs

I am stealing this from the last game preview [Ed.: And every game preview before that.]. During this six-game losing streak the Tigers are mired in, they have scored a total of nine runs. Math is not my strong suit, but that isn’t good. Facing a guy who had good luck against them before does not exactly help the cause. It also doesn’t help that the Tigers are who they are this year. Scoring hasn’t been this team’s strong suit.

Prediction

The Tigers score more than two runs.