Detroit Tigers (45-75) vs. Los Angeles Angels (51-67)
When: 7:10 p.m. Friday.
Where: Comerica Park in Detroit.
TV: Bally Sports Detroit.
Radio: WXYT-FM (97.1) (Tigers radio affiliates).
Probable pitchers: Tigers RHP Matt Manning (0-0, 3.24 ERA) vs. Angels RHP Patrick Sandoval (3-8, 3.42 ERA).
First-pitch forecast: Clear, low-80s.
1. CF Riley Greene
2. 2B Willi Castro
3. SS Javier Báez
4. C Eric Haase
5. DH Miguel Cabrera
6. LF Kerry Carpenter
7. 1B Jonathan Schoop
8. 3B Jeimer Candelario
9. RF Victor Reyes
Game notes: Superman, as a comic book character, was created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Somehow, it was another five years before his greatest weakness — Kryptonite — was created. (For a radio adaptation, no less, to give Supes’ voice actor a rest now and then. The Big K didn't make the comics till 1949, and didn't turn green till 1951.)
But for baseball’s Superman — Mike Trout — his Kryptonite came into existence a little over a decade before his career began; Trout debuted on July 8, 2011, and Comerica Park opened in Detroit in April 2000. Over his 12-year run, Trout has 10 American League All-Star nods, eight Silver Sluggers, 3 MVP awards, five additional top-five MVP finishes and an AL Rookie of the Year award to go with his career .303/.416/.584 slash line (and 204 steals).
At Comerica Park, however, Trout is a mere mortal, sporting a .255/.342/.461 slash line over 27 games, with an .803 OPS that’s his second-worst among AL ballparks. (The worst: Houston’s Minute Maid Field, where Trout has a .206/.340/.417 slash line.) And that’s with facing a decidedly bad Tigers pitching staff at the CoPa for most of the past seven seasons.
Trout is set to make his second-half debut Friday against the Tigers, as he tweeted several plane emojis and the word “Detroit” on Wednesday night. The 31-year-old has missed the Angels’ past 30 games, in which they’ve gone 13-17, with a chronic back condition. (They were 38-50 before his absence, so don’t expect a supercharged push for a wild-card berth in Anaheim.)
As noted, Comerica Park is far from his favorite place to hit. In 102 at-bats at The House That Bobby Higginson Built, Trout has 36 strikeouts, his most as a visitor in a non-AL West park. Likewise, the park seemingly plays to his weaknesses as a power hitter.
Despite missing more than 270 games due to injuries since the start of the 2016 season, Trout still has 195 home runs, sixth-most in baseball. But if he played all of his games at Comerica Park (good for Tigers fans, bad for Christopher Ilitch’s wallet), he’d have just 143 homers (according to MLB’s Statcast tracking) — a difference of 52 dingers over parts of seven seasons.
A closer look at where Trout’s homers since the start of 2016 have landed explains some of the issue: Although the righty pulls a healthy number of homers to deep left, he also squares up on a lot of pitches to deep center — aka, the place where offense goes to die at “Comerica National Park.”
If we limit it to this season? Trout has 24 homers, but just 11 of those would have been out at the CoPa.
That doesn’t mean Trout won’t launch a homer (or two) this weekend in Detroit. He still has four career homers at Comerica — two in 2012, one in 2013 and one in 2018 —despite not visiting the park since 2019, thanks to the pandemic-altered schedule in 2020 and injury in 2021. And Matt Manning, the Tigers’ starter Friday, is still putting 33.8% of his batted balls into the air (down from 44.7% last season, at least); that would be third-highest in the majors if Manning had enough innings to qualify for the leader board.
But if you hear that familiar crack of the bat that usually signifies a home run (even at the spacious CoPa), track the ball down in the air before you assume that Trout has done his usual Mike Trout things; there’s a better-than-usual chance the ball will come down safely in the center fielder’s glove. Sometimes, Kryptonite turns Superman back into Clark Kent*, at least for a weekend series.
The Tigers and Halos continue their series with a pair of day games Saturday and Sunday, including Eduardo Rodriguez’s return in the series finale against Shohei Ohtani. The Tigers then get Monday off before welcoming another West Coast squad into town, as the San Francisco Giants visit for two games Tuesday-Wednesday. The Angels, meanwhile, head even farther east for four games (Monday-Thursday) against the Tampa Bay Rays before heading north to Toronto to wrap up a horrendous road trip next weekend.
*Kryptonite, depending on its color, can do A LOT of weird things to Supes — none of which we’re diving into here.
Can't see the updates? Refresh the page or check them out on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers shut out by Los Angeles Angels, 1-0: Game thread replay