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Tigers-Angels Preview 2009-04-22

Tigers-Angels Preview 2009-04-22
The Los Angeles Angels may be off to a slow start, but don't try telling that to the Detroit Tigers.

The Angels will send Joe Saunders to the mound Wednesday night when they continue a three-game set against the Tigers.

Los Angeles (5-8) returned home after a 1-5 trip, and may have found the perfect opponent. Gary Matthews Jr. doubled in Torii Hunter in the eighth inning to put the Angels ahead for good Tuesday in a 4-3 victory - their 12th in their last 15 games at home versus Detroit.

The Tigers (7-6) haven't won a series in Anaheim since taking two of three May 6-8, 2005, and have also lost 10 of 13 overall against the Angels.

"They're an outstanding baseball team, and there's no question they're definitely going to come out of it because they compete too good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I would still say that they're the odds-on favorite to win their division because they can do it a lot of different ways. And their manager's tremendous."

Saunders (2-1, 2.18 ERA) sets out for his second straight victory. He limited Seattle to one run and three hits over seven innings Thursday in a 5-1 win.

"Joe's always been a confident kid," manager Mike Scioscia - ejected during Tuesday's win - told the Angels' official Web site. "He's got a lot of faith in what he can do. He trusts his stuff, and he understands that his stuff plays in the major leagues."

The left-hander has excelled against right-handed hitters, limiting them to a .170 average through three outings.

Saunders, though, is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four career starts versus the Tigers.

Los Angeles was able to slow down Miguel Cabrera, who entered the day as the top hitter in the AL with a .489 batting average. Cabrera went 0-for-4 for his second hitless effort of the year.

Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez was also held in check with a single in four at-bats. Ordonez came in with a .364 career average at Angel Stadium that led all active players.

Curtis Granderson homered twice for Detroit, including his 18th career leadoff shot.

Hunter hit the lone homer for Los Angeles, which did a better job with runners in scoring position. The Angels were 3-for-9 after entering with a .221 average.

Los Angeles will face a struggling starter in Justin Verlander (0-2, 7.88), who felt he was the victim of bad luck in his last outing.

Verlander retired his first 12 batters Friday in Seattle before he allowed five runs in the fifth inning. The big inning hurt him as he gave up six runs over 7 1-3 innings in a 6-3 loss.

"I might go and have a little conversation with the baseball gods," Verlander told the Tigers' official Web site. "You can't get mad at them. You have to be nice. But I might have to have a seance or something."

This will be Verlander's first career start in Anaheim. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA in three outings versus the Angels.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 22, 2009

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