Jose Alvarez impressed in his first two big league starts.
Now, he’ll have to deal with the Los Angeles Angels, who have recently looked more like the offensive juggernaut many expected them to be this season.
The Detroit Tigers look to bounce back from a six-error performance in Tuesday’s series-opening defeat as they send Alvarez to the mound against Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
Alvarez (1-0, 2.45 ERA) had his contract purchased from Triple-A Toledo earlier this month as a temporary replacement in Detroit’s rotation for the injured Anibal Sanchez
The left-hander has responded by limiting opponents to three runs over 11 innings in two starts with 10 strikeouts. He did not get a decision his last time out in a 4-3 win over Boston on Thursday.
Wednesday could prove to be Alvarez’s toughest challenge yet if a 14-8 win in the opener by the Angels (34-33) - their seventh straight victory over Detroit - is any indication. It was the fifth time in 12 contests, a span in which Los Angeles has hit .311, tallied at least nine runs. They had four such outbursts in the previous 65 games.
J.B. Shuck was 3 for 5 with a career-high four RBIs, while Josh Hamilton - starting for the first time in four games after dealing with a sore right wrist - singled in each of his first three at-bats and scored three runs. Hamilton is still hitting .214 and slugging .382, both career lows.
But Tuesday’s 3-for-5 performance after an 0-for-15 slump seemed encouraging. Hamilton recorded three games with three or more hits in his previous 72 contests, but they all came in April.
Six errors for the Tigers (42-33) were the most in the majors since Pittsburgh committed seven in a 12-2 loss to the Cubs on Sept. 7.
“It was just an ugly night for us,” manager Jim Leyland said. “Obviously, they hit the ball all over the place and we didn’t make some plays.”
Angels scheduled starter Tommy Hanson (4-2, 5.10) was the beneficiary of another big offensive performance in his last start. Los Angeles came from behind to win 10-9 at Seattle on Thursday, bailing out the right-hander from a loss after he surrendered seven runs and six hits in two-plus innings.
“I think I was just pulling my pitches,” he told the team’s official website. “They were getting too much of the plate and they let me know.”
Hanson threw six shutout innings against the Tigers for his second win of the season April 19, an 8-1 Angels victory.
Los Angeles could get another hot bat in its lineup Wednesday in Peter Bourjos Bourjos told the team’s official website he hoped to play after sitting out Tuesday due to a bruised left thumb he suffered on a slide Sunday. An MRI on Monday showed no structural damage for Bourjos, who is batting .406 over his last nine games and .331 on the season. He already spent over a month on the disabled list earlier this year due to a strained hamstring.