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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, September 7th (All times eastern)

Detroit Tigers (73-63) at LA Angels of Anaheim (74-63), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Detroit - Max Scherzer (15-6, 3.93) LA Angels - Ervin Santana (8-11, 5.32)

(Sports Network) - The start of a lengthy road trip for the Detroit Tigers will be an interesting one, as they take on the LA Angels of Anaheim Friday in the opener of a three-game set.

Both clubs are contending for a postseason spot, with the Tigers a game in back of the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central lead and three games behind for a Wild Card berth. The Angels are just 2 1/2 games behind for one of the two remaining playoff spots.

Detroit went 4-2 on a recent homestand and are scheduled to visit the White Sox and Indians on its upcoming 10-game road swing. The Tigers remained within striking distance of the division lead by handing Cleveland a 7-1 loss on Wednesday thanks to home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Cabrera just captured AL Player of the Month honors.

Tigers starter Doug Fister allowed just one run and four hits in seven innings, before Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Fister is 6-2 with a 2.48 ERA since the All-Star break and helped the Tigers salvage the series with the Tribe.

"It's good because our fate is in our own hands," said Fister. "We control our own destiny and we just have to take care of what we do."

Max Scherzer will carry an unbeaten streak into tonight's affair and has won each of his last five starts (1.03 ERA). The Tigers are 6-0 in Scherzer's previous six trips to the mound and recorded a 5-1 win over the White Sox on Saturday, as the right-hander struck out nine over eight shutout innings.

Scherzer is 9-1 in his last 10 decisions and 15-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 27 starts. He has never won 16 games in a season and has faced the Angels three times -- all starts -- in his career, going 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA. Scherzer is 2-0 against them this season and 8-4 in 15 road assignments.

The Angels are back home for a seven-game residency versus Detroit and Oakland, and have won 12 of their last 15 games. They are coming off a three- game sweep of the Athletics which was culminated with a 7-1 win on Wednesday.

Dan Haren hurled six innings of one-run ball and struck out seven batters, while Garrett Richards, Nick Maronde, Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri kept the A's off the board the rest of the way.

"I'm just happy for the team," Haren said. "Sweeping a team like that, and going back home, it feels really good."

Torii Hunter knocked in three runs and Howie Kendrick added two RBI for the Angels, who recorded their first sweep in Oakland since Oct. 2-4, 2009.

The news wasn't all good for the Halos. Ace Jered Weaver flew back to L.A. on Wednesday to have his right shoulder examined and it was determined he is battling a case of tendinitis. Weaver, who was hit in the arm by a line drive against Seattle, will miss his next start.

"Quite simply, he has biceps tendinitis and it has nothing to do with being struck with the line drive," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said on the club's website. "He's going to miss his start next time through and should be back shortly thereafter."

Ervin Santana will take Weaver's spot in the rotation tonight and is 4-1 in his last five decisions. Santana beat the Mariners at Safeco Field on Saturday and pitched seven innings of two-run ball in a 5-2 victory, improving to 8-11 in 26 starts and lowering his ERA to 5.32.

Santana lost to the Tigers on Aug. 26, when he gave up four runs in seven innings of a 5-2 setback, but is 6-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 10 career starts against them. The right-hander may have some trouble with Detroit again since he is only 3-6 in 11 starts at Angel Stadium this season.

The Tigers have won five of seven matchups with the Angels this season -- all at Comerica Park.

09/07 10:46:21 ET