Game Countdown – 8/24/09: Happy Birthday, Nick – Tigers @ Angels

Detroit Tigers (65-58) @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (74-48)

Starters: DET – Justin Verlander (13-7, 3.29 ERA)  LAA – Jered Weaver (13-4, 3.89 ERA)

Game Info: 7:05 PM PT TV-Fox Sports West, Radio-KLAA 830 AM, KFWB, KWKW 1330 AM

Today should have been Nick Adenhart’s 23rd birthday, but the actions of a drunken moron took that all away.  Left in the wake of that tragic night is a team that has used the untimely death of their young star as a rallying point.  That team is now, once again, being served a stark reminder that loss and has an opportunity to refocus their efforts to make sure they continue on their path to success in honor of their fallen teammate.

Nick Adenhart mural

It is only fitting that Jered Weaver draws the starting assignment on this dour occasion.  No Angel has taken the loss of Adenhart harder than Weaver, who had befriended Nick this spring and pointed to the tragedy as a major reason for his maturity as a player this year.  Weaver has still suffered some ups and downs, especially recently, and will no doubt have his work cut out for him tonight as he must battle a tough opponent as well as the pain from some emotional scars that today’s meaning will no doubt re-open.  And as much as the stumbling Angel team needs Weaver to lead them to a win, it would probably mean more to Weaver that he perform well to give proper respect to his friend’s memory.

THREE Questions:

  • Can the Angels solve Justin Verlander?  The Angels have faced the Detroit ace twice this season.  Once, they roughed him up for seven runs in five innings, but his most recent outing against the Halos was eight shutout innings.  With the Angel offense starting to sputter a bit, they could be in deep trouble tonight.
  • Could this be a playoff preview?  If the Rangers win the wild card and the Angels win the AL West, the Angels are going to draw the winner of the AL Central which is shaping up to be the Detroit Tigers.  There is still a long way to go to get to that point, but it does add a certain level of intrigue to this series.
  • Will the rest of the Angels be able to handle such an emotional week?  Not only is today Nick’s birthday but later this week is the make-up game with Oakland that was canceled after the accident at the beginning of the year.  That is a lot of emotional reminders being thrust upon them in the middle of a stretch of games where they have been traveling a lot with no rest during a playoff race.

TWO Predictions:

  • The suddenly anemic Angel offense will once again fail to score more than 4 runs, as they have in four of the last five games.
  • After ripping off six total bags against the Angels in their earlier encounters, the Angels finally shut down the Tiger running game for at least one night.

ONE Wish:

  • Every time the Angels face the Tigers, all I can think about is how the Angels nearly traded for Miguel Cabrera and wish that they had pulled the deal off.  The cost at the time was supposed to be Howie Kendrick, Brandon Wood and Ervin Santana.  Considering that Kendrick and Santana have been so inconsistent and Wood still isn’t in the majors, how great would that deal be looking for the Angels right about now?

ZERO Tolerance for… losing to a team that is so bad on the road.  Despite being the leader of the AL Central, the Tigers are a miserable team on the road at 25-38.  Heck, they haven’t even won a road series since mid-June.  After an embarrassing series loss in Toronto, the Angels really need to get back on track and not let their guard down again against another team that is ripe for the picking.

Leave your own questions, answers, predictions or wishes as a comment or just hang out with us during the game or even chat with us on twitter (@MonkeyWithAHalo).

Garrett Wilson

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.