Although all eyes were on former AL MVPs Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera heading into this series, it’s been a three-time NL MVP who has sparked a pair of victories for the Los Angeles Angels.
Albert Pujols will try to homer for a third straight game against the slumping Detroit Tigers on Saturday night when the Angels look to continue their dominance in the series in Anaheim.
Cabrera took home AL MVP honors in 2012 and 2013 before Trout broke through last season, but both have been relatively quiet at Angel Stadium.
Trout has gone 2 for 8 with a double, leaving him 4 for 30 in his last eight games versus Detroit (28-22). Cabrera has a single and two walks in four at-bats and is 5 for 32 with one homer in his past nine against the Angels.
Pujols has stolen the show by going 4 for 6 with two home runs and scoring four runs in the series. He hit his 10th homer of the season and the 530th of his career in Friday’s 2-0 victory.
The 35-year-old is hitting .395 with 10 home runs in 35 career regular-season meetings with Detroit.
”It’s a long season, so I just try to stay positive all the time and have quality at-bats,” Pujols said.
The Angels (25-24) now look to take the first three of this series with their 12th win in 13 home meetings.
Los Angeles starters have excelled at home with a 1.87 ERA over the last 20 games. That’s a trend Jered Weaver (3-4, 4.06 ERA) might be able to continue since he’s gone 52-20 with an AL-best 2.39 ERA in 97 home starts since 2009.
After going 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his first six starts, Weaver has regained the form that led to 18 wins last season. He’s 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last four starts after allowing one run over 6 2-3 innings in Monday’s 4-3 home win over San Diego.
The right-hander finished with a season-high seven strikeouts but did not get a decision. He’s 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his last two meetings with the Tigers, whom he hasn’t faced at home since 2010.
Ian Kinsler has gone 4 for 8 off him the past two seasons, but is mired in a 1-for-26 slump over his last seven games.
Yoenis Cespedes, who fanned with the bases loaded in the eighth inning Friday, is 4 for 12 with two doubles versus Weaver since 2013. Cabrera has gone 1 for 8 in the matchup since 2010.
The Tigers are batting .181 while totaling six runs in the first four games of their seven-game trip. They’ve also scored four runs during a five-game skid in Anaheim and are just 15-43 at Angel Stadium since 2002.
”We’re not hitting,” said manager Brad Ausmus, whose club has lost five of seven. ”It’s no secret, so we’ve got to try to do something on the bases and try to score somehow.”
Detroit will try to turn things around for Shane Greene (4-3, 4.27), who faces the Angels for the first time.
The right-hander took a shutout into the sixth Monday but didn’t make it out of the inning, surrendering all four runs in a 4-0 loss at Oakland. He had given up just three runs over his previous 24 2-3 innings spanning four starts.