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Series Preview: Tigers host Los Angeles Angels for 3-game weekday set

The Tigers have won two in a row and are looking to feast on their AL West foes.

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Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers wrap up their current homestand this week after hosting a pair of National League West division teams over the past four days. They dropped two games to one against the visiting San Diego Padres over the weekend but triumphed over the San Francisco Giants, which completed a sweep for a series originally played back in mid-April.

Having maintained a .500 pace over that stretch, the Motor City Kitties find themselves eight games under and seven games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins, who have picked up the pace with eight wins in their last 10 games. While the division lead is becoming more and more out of reach, there are still 62 games left to play so anything can happen.

Next up for the Tigers is yet another foe from out west, the Los Angeles Angels, who despite having two of the best players on the planet still cannot seem to match their talent and payroll in the win column. Their past six games include a home sweep of the New York Yankees as well as winning two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Take a look below at how the pitching matchups line up for this week.

Detroit Tigers (46-54) vs. Los Angeles Angels (51-49)

Times (EDT): Tuesday: 6:40 p.m.; Wednesday: 6:40 p.m.; Thursday: 1:10 p.m.
Place: Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan
SB Nation Site: Halos Heaven
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 101 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Rodriguez 83.2 26.8 5.5 3.14 2.1
Canning 79.2 24.8 7.5 4.74 0.7

Game 101: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (6-5, 2.69 ERA) vs. RHP Griffin Canning (6-4, 4.52 ERA)

A lot of people expect Rodriguez to be shipped out in a trade ahead of this summer’s deadline, but for now, he is still with the team and will take the bump on Tuesday night. While a finger injury interrupted what has been the best season of the 30-year-old’s career the left-hander is back to where he was before, logging a quality start his last time out against the Kansas City Royals, spinning seven frames of two-run ball on four hits and no walks while striking out seven en route to the win.

Canning is in his first season back following stress fractures in his back that kept him out the entire 2022 campaign. Prior to that, he was one of the Angels’ best starters and the 27-year-old is looking to return to that form once again in 2023. The fourth-year hurler gets by on a five-pitch arsenal headlined by a four-seam fastball (94.7 mph, 33.5%), slider (88.4 mph, 32.7%), changeup (90.3 mph, 20.7%), curveball (82.2 mph, 12.4%) and sinker (95.1 mph, 0.7%), according to Baseball Reference.

Game 102 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Lorenzen 100.2 19.1 6.5 4.03 1.3
Sandoval 93.0 18.7 9.5 3.99 1.7

Game 102: RHP Michael Lorenzen (5-6, 3.49 ERA) vs. LHP Patrick Sandoval (5-7, 4.16 ERA)

Lorenzen continues his All-Star campaign as he continues to ride high on his first midsummer classic appearance. The 31-year-old has yet to allow a single run in the month of July over 18 23 innings, allowing just eight hits and six walks while striking out 14, along with a 2.75 FIP. The last two outings were also quality starts, earning wins over the Seattle Mariners and Kansas City. Trade rumors are also swirling around his name, but as long as he is still with the team, the Tigers can count on reliable innings from the right-hander.

Sandoval is in the midst of his worst season since the 2020 COVID campaign, seeing elevated metrics across the board which supports the notion that he may have lost something. The 26-year-old has had a few fine outings and has posted a decent fWAR, but the bad ones greatly outnumber the good; the fact of the matter is that he simply cannot keep runners from scoring. However, his last two games have been solid, including a quality start in his last outing against the Yankees, going 7 13 innings surrendering one run on a solo homer while allowing a pair of hits and three walks while striking out seven in what is likely his best performance of the summer.

Game 103 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Manning 36.2 17.1 8.2 4.65 0.3
Silseth 24.1 23.4 14.0 5.22 0.0

Game 103: RHP Matt Manning (3-1, 3.19 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Silseth (2-1, 4.44 ERA)

Manning is now two games separated from his tandem no-hitter and has continued his solid pitching despite some ugly peripherals that still seem to haunt him. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old is rounding into form after years of injury and frustration as he continues to churn through his third major league campaign. Unfortunately, his last start against the Padres was cut short due to a rain delay, giving him just two scoreless innings of work, in which he allowed a run and two walks while striking out two.

Silseth, a second-year hurler selected in the 11th round of the 2021 MLB draft by the Angels, is still very wet behind the ears and looking to find his footing at the top level of the game. The 23-year-old was pummeled in seven starts last season but has managed to put up some more respectable numbers in a flex role that has seen him start two of his 10 games and finish three of them. The right-hander’s last outing was his second start and the best outing of his 2023 campaign so far, tossing a season-high 5 23 innings of one-run ball on four hits and two walks while striking out 10 Yankees.

Series Outlook: It’s a tough opponent but you gotta win

The Angels are fourth in the majors in OPS (.779) and third in home runs (155) on offense while the pitching staff is ranked No. 21 in ERA (4.47) and No. 22 in WHIP (1.37). Conversely, the Tigers are 28th in OPS (.668) and 25th in home runs (95) while their pitching staff is an improved 18th in ERA (4.40) and an impressive fifth overall in WHIP (1.24). The good news is Detroit will miss Shohei Ohtani in the rotation; the bad news is that he is just as deadly at the plate as he is on the mound. All things considered, LA looks better on paper, but the Old English D has proved time and time again that the games are played on the field and not on pulp.