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Series Preview: Tigers @ Angels (Taming the Tigers)

Angels look to dominate the Tigers again in 2016

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Angels are 16-4 vs. the Tigers over the past 3 years and 10-1 against them in that time at home in Anaheim.

Just like the last series, this one will feature two teams who sit below the .500 mark.  In the Tigers case, they are just 1 game under .500, where as the Angels are 6 under.  Despite their record, the Tigers have scored the 5th mosts runs in the AL, are 6th in HRs, and 2nd in OPS.  Victor Martinez, Nick Castellanos, Ian Kinsler and Melky Cabrerra all help lead the offensive onslaught and are all hitting over .300 this season.  They also have 38 homeruns among them.  Detroit doesn't steal much and they only have 2 more stolen bases than the Angels who are 14th in the AL.

Pitching for the Tigers is another story altogether, and their team ERA is 13th in the AL.  They have the second highest BAA and the third highest WHIP.

The Angels come into this series hoping to get a shot of adrenaline after losing back to back series against the two teams from Texas.

Biggest question(s): Will the Angels continue to dominate the Tigers at home?

Game 1

Jhoulys Chacin vs. Justin Verlander
Monday, May 30th, 2016 @ 6:05PM

Chacin is still chasing his first win as an Angel.

Justin Verlander v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
77 1 21.3 .195
Jhoulys Chacin v. Tigers Current Roster (Career)
58 2 28.8 .224
Players/Stats to watch:

Johnny Giavotella v. Justin Verlander (last 5 years)
10 4 0 1 .400
Johnny G has had the most at bats against Verlander, though 9 of those 10 came in 2011 and 2012.  He hasn't faced him since 2014 when he had one at bat which was a double.  Verlander last faced the Angels in 2014 and he pitched a complete game 1-hitter.  Cowart, Cron, Trout, Pujols, and Calhoun all failed to notch a hit and struck out a combined 7 times.  In 2016, Verlander has had two bad outings on May 3 and April 11, but has otherwise been pretty solid.  His last 4 starts were all quality and not less than 7 innings, and two of those starts were scoreless.
Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton have the most at bats against Chacin and have hit .308 and .167 against him respectively.    Chacin will be making his first career start against the Tigers.  Since joining the Angels, he has given up 2, 4, and 3 runs, so he has not been horrible.  Chacin's low flyball rate (24%) should help him agains the longball hitting Tigers.  Note - for comparison, Weaver and Santiago both give up a lot of homeruns and have a flyball rate around 45%
VERDICT: This could be a close game.  Chacin's pitching style should matchup well against the Tigers.  As per usual, the biggest factor will be our offense and what version of Verlander shows up - the 6 time All Star, or the dude who has a 4 ERA the last 3 years.

Game 2
Hector Santiago vs. Anibal Sanchez
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 @ 7:05PM

Santiago has taken regression to a new level.

Anibal Sanchez v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
78 4 17.8 .231
Hector Santiago v. Tigers Current Roster (Career)
96 3 19.3 .240
Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Anibal Sanchez (Last 5 years)
17 6 2 1 .353
J.D. Martinez v. Hector Santiago (Last 5 years)
9 3 2 1 .333
Hector Santiago has gone from a dominate 8 inning start of his career to back to back starts of less than 3 innings (one of which he was ejected but may not have lasted much longer anyway).  Velocity hasn't been his problem since he's still been hitting speeds not seen much the pasts few years.  Interesting fact is that his lowest velocity game this year was his 8 inning 2-hitter.  Location and pitch choice matters too (which is the only thing keeping Weaver semi relevant).  Santiago was 1-0 against the Tigers in 2015 and he pitched 7.1 innings of 3-hit shutout ball.
Sanchez has been a bit up and down in 2016 and has a very non boastful 6.04 ERA.  His last 5 starts have all lasted 5.2 innings or less.  He's a flyball pitcher and does give up a fair amount of homeruns.  In 2015 he lost to the Angels despite going 7 innings and allowing only 2 runs.  Santiago was the benefactor in this pitching dual last year and both pitchers went 7+ innings and combined for 16 Ks.

Source: FanGraphs
VERDICT: Rematch from last May that was a pitching dual.  My prediction is the Angels only win with a long ball or two (like they did in 2015).

Game 3
Matt Shoemaker vs. Michael Fulmer (probable)
Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 @ 4:05PM

Shoemaker became the first pitcher in Angels HISTORY to throw back to game 10K+ games with no walks.

Matt Shoemaker v. Tigers Current Roster (Career)
56 0 17.3 .109
Players/Stats to watch:
23-year-old rookie Fulmer is/was having a decent year.  He's 4-1 in 6 starts with a 3.97 ERA.  He's struck out 36 in 34 innings.  The good news for the Angels is that after two great starts to begin the year, Fulmer has an 8.01 ERA since then, and hasn't pitched more than 5 innings in those 4 starts.
Shoemaker is looking to continue his resurgence and hopefully he has has found himself again.  Just when he seemed like he was done and destined for a long year in AAA, he proved the skeptics wrong and crushed it his last two outings.  15.2 IP, 2ER and 23Ks?  Wow.  Both the Orioles and Astros are high K teams, but so is Detroit which bodes well for Shoemaker.  Shoey only gave up 1 run in 5.1 innings against the Tigers in 2015 and he struck out 5.
VERDICT: The Angels have been good at making stars out of struggling pitchers, but they also have owned the Tigers in Anaheim the past few years.  Shoemaker may very well have another good start this game and could get the Angels another win.
OVERALL VERDICT: I think the Angels will win this series and continue the tradition of taming the Tigers at home.