Hard-throwing right-handers Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver
are the crown jewels of the first round of the 2004 Major League
Baseball draft, having posted double-digit win totals in each of
their 10 combined full seasons in the big leagues
Verlander looks to improve to 3-0 this year against the visiting
Los Angeles Angels, who hope Weaver can put aside his past woes
versus the Detroit Tigers in Friday night’s series opener.
Verlander (12-6, 3.74 ERA) was selected second overall by
Detroit (53-55) in 2004, while Weaver (10-7, 3.04) fell to the 12th
pick and Los Angeles due to contractual demands by agent Scott
Boras. They have been the most consistent first-rounders from their
class, and the only All-Stars along with Yankees right-hander Phil
Weaver leads the majors with 162 strikeouts, while Verlander’s
138 rank fifth in the AL.
The Tigers starter is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts against
the Angels in 2010, and allowed one run and struck out seven over 8
1-3 innings to hand Weaver his first loss in a 5-1 Detroit victory
May 2. Weaver matched his shortest outing of the year, giving up
four runs over 4 2-3 innings while striking out six.
Weaver has gotten used to facing tough opponents on the mound,
going 2-3 with a 3.27 ERA in his last five starts while opposing
Texas’ Cliff Lee twice, Oakland’s Trevor Cahill, Seattle’s Felix
Hernandez, and Boston’s John Lackey in that span. He outdueled Lee
on Sunday by allowing one unearned run over seven innings of a 4-1
Weaver is 2-3 with a 6.51 ERA in seven career starts against the
Tigers. Detroit third baseman Jhonny Peralta is 8 for 20 against
Verlander is 5-0 with a 2.55 ERA in his last five home outings,
but did not get a decision Saturday at Boston after yielding two
runs in seven innings of the Tigers’ 4-3 loss. Angels veterans
Torii Hunter (.324), Bobby Abreu (.368) and Hideki Matsui (.333)
have all had success against him.
The Tigers have won five straight over the Angels after losing
the first two meetings this year.
These teams looked like contenders at the All-Star break, with
Detroit trailing Chicago by one-half game in the AL Central and Los
Angeles 4 1/2 games behind Texas in the West. Both those deficits
have ballooned, with the Tigers a major league-worst 5-17 since the
break and the Angels 7-12.
Detroit dropped three of four to the White Sox this week
including a 6-4, 11-inning loss Thursday. The Tigers failed to take
advantage of Ryan Raburn’s two-out, three-run homer that tied the
game in the ninth.
“We got the big one there in the last inning to tie it up,”
manager Jim Leyland said. “But we couldn’t hold it. We didn’t do
much offensively the whole game.”
Los Angeles (54-56) also enters the weekend on a down note after
being swept in a three-game series at Baltimore, with its starters
posting an 8.80 ERA against baseball’s worst team. Manager Mike
Scioscia kept the clubhouse door closed to address his team after
Thursday’s 5-4 loss.
“This is obviously a disappointing series and a disappointing
game tonight,” he said. “It’s not as much the effort; we’re
battling back. But I think our approach at times isn’t what we need