By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Not too often would rookie Jose Alvarez be considered a preferable option to Anibal Sanchez, a seven-year veteran with a 2.76 ERA.
Wednesday, however, Alvarez can do something Sanchez cannot. He brings a fresh face to the mound against the Los Angeles Angels, who have bested every pitcher on the Tigers’ rotation – Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Doug Fister and Sanchez – in seven straight wins since August 2012.
The Angels have outscored the Tigers 48-17 in that span.
Los Angeles has an offense that appears capable of producing as well as any in baseball, with big names like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout. While the Angels rank in the top third of the league in categories including batting average, runs, hits and total bases, they do not have the best offense in baseball by any standard, and they are still nine games under .500.
The Angels have twice this season scored eight or more runs in a single inning – both offensive explosions came against Detroit – but they do not always blow out the Tigers.
Detroit has also lost games 3-2, 3-2 and 4-3 during the seven-game stretch.
“You always have that team, that team that you beat up, and when they go somewhere else, they beat up on everybody else,” Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter said. “And the Angels right now, they’ve just got our number.”
Tuesday’s 14-8 Detroit loss was one of the most resounding defeats to date.
“You can’t let this hold you down,” Hunter said. “We’ve just got to have amnesia and come back ready to play. I say that a lot, but you’ve got to have that in baseball. We’ll come back ready to go tomorrow.”
Relatively new in the big leagues, with a 2.45 ERA and a WHIP of 1.000 over his first two starts in the majors, Alvarez might be able to help.