Who is your MVP now, America?
Finally, it appears that Trout will be realizing his destiny and taking home the AL MVP this year. They are only 100 games into the season, but he has the award just about wrapped up. It really is a joy if only because it means that this particular series will not be about everyone re-hashing the Trout vs. Cabrera debate for the third time. Instead, it will be more about the proverbial passing of the torch. That begs the question of how many metaphorical torches that Trout can handle since he already got passed one by Jeter at the All-Star Game.
Either way, we are being spared a trilogy of Trout-Cabrera debates, and for that we should all be grateful.
LAST TIME ON ANGELS VS. TIGERS…
Back in April, before the Angels were actually good, the Halos dropped two of three in Detroit. Keep in mind though that this was a series where Raul Ibanez, Ian Stewart, Josh Wall and J.B. Shuck played prominent roles. Suffice it to say, the Halos weren’t exactly at full strength.
GHOST OF ANGELS PAST
Our old friend Torii Hunter is back to haunt us. That might be hard to do with his .300 OBP, but still, just seeing his smiling face out there every time Josh Hamilton hits another feeble flyout is only going to draw the ire of a fanbase that still pines for Torii. It probably won’t help that Torii has a .913 OPS against the Angels ever since he left.
Oh, and Andrew Romine is on the Tigers, too. But he’s terrible, so who cares.
THURSDAY, 7/24: Garrett Richards vs. Max Scherzer
It isn’t a lengthy history, but Richards has genuinely obliterated all the current Tigers. Everyone except Ian Kinsler, because of course. Considering how well Richards has been pitching, this bodes quite well for him.
Scherzer is really good, this we know. We also know he dominated the Angels back in April. However, there are some individual match-ups that have given him trouble, Chris Iannetta and Josh Hamilton, to be specific. Of course, he’s also totally obliterated Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar, so the balance would seem to be in his favor, especially with Hamilton struggling and Iannetta likely to be on the bench.
Smyly doesn’t have a ton of experience against the Angels and much of it is as a reliever. In fact, his only start against the Halos was also the game the Halos won back in April as they chased Smyly after three innings.
With as much as Verlander has struggled this season, it is even more exciting to see that the Angels actually have hit him well in the past, you know, when he was awesome. However, a lot of that success has come from Albert Pujols. Other guys have a good average and OBP against Verlander, but Pujols is really the only one hitting him for power.
SUNDAY, 7/27: Hector Santiago vs. Rick Porcello
Santiago faced Detroit back in April and it was one of those trademark Santiago starts where he has a bunch of strikeouts, allows just two runs and a limits hits, but only goes five innings and looks terrible in the process. Generally speaking though, Santiago has been excellent against the current crop of Tigers.
Porcello has found a lot of success this year, so it almost doesn’t matter that the Angels have a lot of past success against him. What is probably more accurate is the start he made in April where he allowed just one run in seven innings of work. Or maybe not. Baseball is weird.
Skaggs, Shoemaker and Santiago in the same series against Scherzer, Verlander (even if he kind of sucks now) and Porcello? Yeah, I don’t see how this can be any better than a split, especially since the Tigers finally got a useful reliever in Joakim Soria.
UNOFFICIAL PREDICTION (so don’t hold me to it)
Josh Hamilton will hit a homer. It will be one of his two hits in the series.