American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, July 26 (All times eastern)
Detroit Tigers (57-43) at LA Angels of Anaheim (61-41), 9:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Justin Verlander (9-8, 4.84) LA Angels - Matt Shoemaker (7-3, 4.54)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The LA Angels of Anaheim are one of only two teams in the major leagues with at least 60 wins to this point in the season, unfortunately the other one is the Oakland Athletics and they are the ones currently keeping the Halos from taking over first place in the American League West standings.
Just two games off the pace set by the A's, the Angels try to close the gap even more Saturday as they tangle with the visiting Detroit Tigers in the third game of a four-game series at Angel Stadium.
Last night the Angels secured their second win in the last three outings with a 2-1 triumph over AL Central-leading Detroit.
Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun both scored in the bottom of the sixth for the home team, while Efren Navarro provided a pair of hits in three at-bats after replacing left fielder Josh Hamilton who exited the game with a sore left knee, leaving his availability for today's meeting questionable.
Tyler Skaggs made the start for the Angels, giving up just a single run on five hits and a walk, striking out five in 5 2/3 innings, but he wasn't around long enough to factor into the decision. Instead, Mike Morin was credited with his third win of 2014, even through he retired just a single batter.
Huston Street came on in the ninth to secure his second save since being acquired by the Angels.
Drew Smyly was tagged with the loss after surrendering those two runs on four hits through 5 2/3 innings. Smyly struck out 11 and walked only one, but even those numbers were not enough to keep him from falling three games under .500 on the season.
"I think he struck out nine out of the first 11, or something like that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Smyly's performance. "He had real good stuff and for us to match him pitch for pitch was important.
"He had us baffled for the first four or five innings."
Miguel Cabrera had two of the six hits for the visitors, including his 16th home run of the season in the fourth inning.
Despite the setback, the Tigers still own the largest division lead in the majors at six games.
The once-dominant Justin Verlander is heading to the mound again tonight as he aims to reach double-digit wins on the campaign. The right-hander, who went winless during the month of June, seems to have regained his groove with three victories in the last four outings.
On Monday, Verlander battled Arizona on the road and limited the Diamondbacks to three runs on six hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings. The Virginia native recorded five strikeouts in the matchup as well, but still has just 16 Ks through four games this month.
Taking on the Tigers for the first time in his brief career, Matt Shoemaker will take the hill for the Angels tonight. The right-hander, in just his second year in the majors, actually has a lower ERA and a better winning percentage than his counterpart, even though he dropped his most recent outing on Monday versus Baltimore.
Against the Orioles, Shoemaker gave up four runs on five hits, two of those being home runs, but he didn't walk a single batter and struck out 10 over 5 2/3 innings. The defeat was just the second in the last nine decisions.
These are the top-two hitting clubs in the AL heading into play on Saturday, with the Tigers producing a collective average of .278 and the Angels putting up a .265 mark.
07/26 10:20:32 ET