Los Angeles (28-25) at Detroit (28-25)

Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 55° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Jun 6, 2009
  • TV: FSW, FSD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It’s been 20 months since Kelvim Escobar(notes) last took the mound for the Los Angeles Angels. Facing the Detroit Tigers could help make his return a success.

On Saturday night, the right-hander makes his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery as the Angels try for a fourth straight victory in the continuation of a three-game set against Edwin Jackson(notes) and the struggling Tigers at Comerica Park.

Escobar went a career-best 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts for the Angels in 2007, but underwent season-ending surgery after suffering a torn labrum in late March 2008.

After a lengthy recovery, Escobar will pitch in the majors for the first time since losing to Boston in Game 2 of the AL division series on Oct. 5, 2007.

“I think of all the things we are going to evaluate him on, most of them are positive,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site of Escobar, who posted a 2.30 ERA in 15 2-3 innings over three rehab starts. “We’re very comfortable that he’s back now.”

With the return of Escobar, Los Angeles (28-25) appears to finally have its projected rotation intact now that John Lackey(notes) and Ervin Santana(notes) are also healthy.

Escobar has dominated the Tigers in his career, going 7-0 with a 2.85 ERA in nine starts. Despite having lost a season high four in a row after falling 2-1 to the Angels on Friday, AL Central-leading Detroit (28-25) has a good chance to end that skid with Jackson on the mound.

Jackson (5-3, 2.30) has the third-best ERA in the AL behind Kansas City’s Zack Greinke(notes) (1.55) and the Angels’ Jered Weaver(notes) (2.26).

The right-hander, who won a career-high 14 games for Tampa Bay last season but was traded to Detroit in December, allowed two hits while striking out seven in eight innings of a 3-0 win at Baltimore on Sunday.

Jackson is 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his last five starts.

“He definitely has developed probably some of the nastiest stuff in the big leagues this year,” Baltimore slugger Aubrey Huff(notes) said. “I don’t know where that came from.”

Jackson’s worst outing of the year, however, came against the Angels when he allowed six runs - three earned - and nine hits in five innings of a 10-5 road loss on April 23. He is 1-3 with a 5.92 ERA in five starts versus Los Angeles.

On Friday, Santana outdueled Justin Verlander(notes) and the Angels scored twice in the ninth inning for a third straight victory. Los Angeles won four in a row May 7-10.

Juan Rivera(notes) snapped the scoreless tie with an RBI single and Torii Hunter(notes) added two hits for Los Angeles, which is 3-1 on a nine-game road trip, and against the Tigers in 2009.

Hunter is 8 for 16 against the Tigers this season, and 3 for 8 with two homers and four RBIs versus Jackson in his career.

Magglio Ordonez(notes) had two hits and an RBI single for Detroit, which is batting .217 and has scored 10 runs during its losing skid.

“We’re just not doing much with the bats,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I don’t know. We just can’t seem to put an inning together.”

Ordonez is batting .353 (6 for 17) with three RBIs versus Los Angeles this season, and .417 (10 for 24) against Escobar.

Miguel Cabrera(notes) walked as a pinch-hitter Friday, one day after he left a 6-3 loss to Boston with a left hamstring injury. It’s uncertain if Cabrera, batting .354, will be in the lineup for this contest.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Escobar Mil vs. E. Jackson Atl
0-1 Record 13-9
3.60 ERA 3.62
5 K 161
4 BB 70
1.60 WHIP 1.26


Saturday, Jun 6