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News » Tigers-Angels Preview 2009-04-23

Tigers-Angels Preview 2009-04-23

Tigers-Angels Preview 2009-04-23
With a starting rotation decimated by injuries, the Los Angeles Angels' bullpen isn't making things any easier.

One night after a seventh-inning meltdown, the Angels may need relief help again Thursday night as they'll be forced to send a struggling Triple-A pitcher to the mound against the Detroit Tigers in the series' deciding game.

The problems - and losses - continue to pile up for Los Angeles, which remains without four injured starters and is still dealing with the death of Nick Adenhart in an auto accident after being broadsided by a suspected drunk driver earlier this month

Although normally reliable left-hander Joe Saunders struggled Wednesday, the Angels (5-9) still led the Tigers 8-6 through six innings until relievers Scot Shields and Jose Arredondo combined to give up five runs in the seventh en route to a 12-10 defeat.

Los Angeles' bullpen has an 8.63 ERA this season - the worst in the majors. Shields' ERA ballooned to 14.40.

An anchor of the bullpen while the Angels have reached the playoffs in five of the past seven years, Shields has allowed seven runs without recording an out in his last two appearances.

"I'm pitching horrible," Shields said. "It's a tough situation, and it's pretty much all me. So I take the blame for the bullpen. I mean, if wasn't for me, I think we'd be all right."

The Angels, who've dropped four of their last five, will need help from a surprising source if they hope to avoid dipping into their relief corps early again.

With John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar, Ervin Santana, Dustin Moseley and Darren Oliver all on the disabled list, Matt Palmer will be called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to make his Angels debut.

Palmer had an 8.53 ERA in three starts for San Francisco last year, and has allowed 10 runs in 7 2-3 innings in the minors to start this season.

"Matt's a guy with some major league experience, and over his last couple outings, his stuff has picked up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told his team's official Web site. "He's a guy that can give us a chance to win us a ballgame. We feel he's one of our best short-term options."

While Justin Verlander gave up seven runs in five innings Wednesday, the Tigers (8-6) have generally received strong starting pitching of late, especially from Edwin Jackson.

Jackson (1-0, 2.14 ERA) will take the ball again Thursday after pitching 7 2-3 impressive innings despite flu-like symptoms in Detroit's 2-0 win over Seattle on Saturday.

"He was sick as a dog," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I was worried how he was going to hold up. What a competitor."

The right-hander has allowed just 12 hits in 21 innings this season, but he hasn't had as much success against the Angels. In three starts against them while pitching for Tampa Bay the last two seasons, Jackson went 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA, giving up 32 hits in 17 2-3 innings.

If the Tigers turn in another offensive effort like Wednesday's onslaught, there won't be much pressure on Jackson. Four players each had three hits, including Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge, who both homered.

After a slow start, Granderson has awakened in Anaheim. He's 5-for-8 with three home runs in the series, while Inge has now driven in a run in five straight games.

A victory would give the Tigers wins in back-to-back series to open their nine-game road trip, as well as their first series victory in Anaheim since May 6-8, 2005.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 23, 2009

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