The Angels have had it rough lately, and not just in the box scores. They find themselves in the middle of a 13-game stretch without any rest days and in the second game of a 10-game road trip. The Angels lost a makeup game in New York yesterday (2-1) and have made the quick turnaround to Detroit to start a three-game series against a Detroit Tigers team that is ahead of schedule in its development.
The Tigers enter the series 58-62, 11.5 games back of the AL Central division leader Chicago White Sox, and 10.5 back of the second AL Wild Card spot. Looks familiar, right? The Angels are 59-61, 12 games back in the AL West, and 9.5 games back of the second AL Wild Card spot. On paper, this is a very even matchup.
The Angels have had some good narratives with the vindication tour of Jo Adell as a legitimate Major Leaguer, the continued success of first baseman Jared Walsh and the emergence of a young and talented rotation. That being said, the negative narratives have been louder.
Consistency issues, due in part to injuries, have plagued the lineup. The offense carried the team during the first half of the season and now, when the rotation has begun to solidify itself while the bullpen does just enough, the Angels’ bats have gone cold. This was on full display last night against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees. The Angels lost 2-1 while recording only three hits and 15 strikeouts. They have averaged just 2.9 runs over the last 10 games. Very rarely has the team put together a complete performance and that inconsistency puts the Angels at 14-16 post-All-Star Break.
Meanwhile, the Tigers have gone 18-11 since the Break and will look to continue their upward trend as they streak towards second place in the AL Central. Jonathan Schoop has had a solid year for Detroit and leads the team in batting average (.283), RBIs (65), runs scored (64), SLG (.454) and hits (128). Contributions from the rotation and young players like Akil Baddoo in addition to an exciting farm system highlight Detroit’s bright future.
Their chase for wins has been overshadowed by Miguel Cabrera’s chase for home run history, and that history is on the line in every game now for Detroit. With lots to talk about, let’s highlight the major focal points going into tonight’s game at Comerica Park.
Angels RHP Dylan Bundy (2-9, 6.17 ERA) will face RHP Casey Mize (6-6, 3.66 ERA) tonight. Bundy has had a rough year after his solid 2020. In 84.2 IP, he’s allowed 85 hits, 58 earned runs and surrendered 19 home runs. Mize, 24, has had some success in his young career after starting seven games last year. He currently has 120.1 IP this season with 105 hits, 49 earned runs and 22 home runs allowed. He relies on a mix of five pitches: slider, 4-seam fastball, sinker, split-finger fastball and the curveball in that order.
Bundy is coming off a rough four inning loss against Toronto where he was charged three earned runs and allowed two home runs.
Mize had a no-decision in his last outing on August 10 against Baltimore. He had a similar line to Bundy, going 4.1 IP with four strikeouts but three home runs given up. Both pitchers are seeking a rebound outing.
Player to Watch
Obviously the answer here is Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera. In truth, out of everything you’ve read so far, this is the story of the night. Cabrera is batting third and sitting at 499 career home runs. While still 49 hits away from 3,000 in his career, Cabrera can still join the 500-home run club as soon as tonight. The future Hall-of-Famer has a prime opportunity, as well, against the fly ball-prone Bundy. All eyes should be on Cabrera’s at-bats this series as any one can be a historic one in his already illustrious career.
Lineups and Notes
First pitch is at 4:10 p.m. PST and can be accessed via Bally Sports West and KLAA-AM 830.