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Series Preview: Angels @ Tigers (One more tough one)

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Another challenging series before the Angels head to Cincinnati to take on an equal

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Angels and Tigers come in this series riding high.  The Tigers are fresh off a sweep (granted it was the Twins), and currently have a 4 game winning streak, while the Angels are high on a series win against a tough Blue Jay team.

When these two teams faced off in May, the Tigers threw the same three starters at the Angels, and the Halos took the series with two solid wins against Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez.  Michael Fulmer notched the only Tigers win in that series by shutting out the Angels over 7.2 innings.

While the Angels have been pretty awful  during the month of August, the Tigers have been pretty average, despite being in the hunt for a playoff spot and going on a recent 4 game roll.

Biggest question: Can we win on this road trip?

Game 1

Ricky Nolasco vs. Justin Verlander
Friday, August 26th, 2016 @ 4:10PM
Ricky  Nolasco v. Tigers Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
155 49 .316 19.3 1 2.89
Justin Verlander v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
72 10 .139 28.0 1 2.90
Players/Stats to watch:
Victor Martinez v. Ricky Nolasco (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
17 7 1 0 .412
Cameron Maybin v. Ricky Nolasco (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
9 5 1 0 .556
Justin Upton v. Ricky Nolasco (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
15 9 6 1 .600
In 4 starts with the Angels, Nolasco has a 5.82 ERA with 1 quality start.  He's been far from great and has given up 5 runs in two of those starts.  Detroit has already beat him twice this year, but he only have up 3 ER in those two starts with 11 innings pitched.
Justin Verlander threw a 1-hitter shutout against the Halos last year, however he lost to the Angels back on May 30th this year - even through he went 7.1 innings.  Not a lot of Angels really have a good average against Verlander.  Kole Calhoun is 0 for 10.  Mike Trout is 1 for 12.  The only bright spot is perhaps Albert Pujols who has a career .333 average against Verlander in 18 AB, but is 0 for 6 against him the past two years.
VERDICT: This game leans Tigers.  Verlander has been on the top of his game lately and has a 1.93 ERA in the second half.
Game 2
Brett Oberholtzer vs. Michael Fulmer
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 @ 4:10PM
Chacin was scratched Friday morning

Bretty Oberholtzer v. Tigers Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K HR OBP
54 11 .204 7 1 .271
Michael Fulmer v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
17 2 .118 26.3 0 2.40
Players/Stats to watch:

None
Despite the fact fact that Jhoulys Chacin is coming off a good start AND threw a compete game 4-hitter against the Tigers earlier this year, he was scratched Friday morning and Oberholtzer has been listed in his place.  Obertholtzer used to be a starter, but hasn't started a game since July 9th of 2015 and he hasn't thrown more than 63 pitches in a game all season.  I'm guessing something is wrong with Chacin to do a swaperoo like this.  Not surprising, considering the back luck that has faced Angels pitching this year.
Michael Fulmer has a 2.58 ERA in his debut season, though his ERA has a slipped a bit in the second half.  He threw 7.2 shutout innings agains the Angels on June 1st, holding them to just 2 hits.  Fulmer is coming off the worst start of his season against the Red Sox when he allowed 6 runs over 5.2 innings.  However, he threw a compete game shutout against the Rangers in his prior game.
VERDICT: Probably an early bullpen game.  I can't see Oberholtzer throwing more than 80 pitches, maybe even 70.  Tigers have the edge here.

Game 3
Tyler Skaggs vs. Anibal Sanchez
Sunday, August 28th, 2016 @ 10:10AM

Skaggs could really use a good start here

Tyler Skaggs v. Tigers Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
15 4 .273 20.0 1 5.39
Anibal Sanchez v. Angels Current Roster (Career)
AB H BAA K% HR FIP
62 24 .391 15.9 6 9.27

Players/Stats to watch:
Albert Pujols v. Anibal Sanchez (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
19 7 2 1 .368
Jefry Marte v. Anibal Sanchez (Last 5 years)
AB H RBI HR BA
2 2 1 1 1.000
Tyler Skaggs has been beat up, chewed up, and spit out since his first two starts back as a major leaguer.  I'm not too worried for his long term success, given how long he was out of action, but short term he may not be done floundering yet.  Skaggs hasn't made it past the 4th inning in his last two starts and has given up 19 runs over his last 17.2 innings.  He faced the Tigers in 2014 during his second to last game before going on the DL and beat them by allowing only 1 run over 5.2 innings.
Anibal Sanchez has not had good luck against the Angels.  The Halos knocked him out after only 3 innings and 6 runs allowed back on May 31st.  Cron, Trout, and Marte all homered off him in that game.  He lost to the Angels in 2015 as well, even though he only allowed 2 runs over 7 IP.  Sanchez has a career 4.11 ERA against the Angels and an 0-3 record.  He hasn't pitched that well in 2016 and has a 5.83 ERA
VERDICT: Tough one to call, but I think Skaggs will bounce back and the Angels have a good shot at a win here.

OVERALL VERDICT: A lot of close calls in this series but it's gonna be unlikely the Angels win more than one game here.