If not for two bullpen implosions in Saturday’s 8-6, 13-inning loss in Baltimore — Detroit’s relievers failed to protect a 5-4, 11th-inning lead and a 6-5, 13th-inning lead — the Tigers would be riding an eight-game winning streak right now. As it is, Jim Leyland’s troops are 20-11 since June 9, and their current 8-1 run began with five straight home victories. Meanwhile, the Angels barely avoided getting swept out of Yankee Stadium over the weekend, holding on for a 10-8 victory Sunday. Still, the Halos have been spinning their wheels lately (6-7 last 13), and since an incredible 13-1 road run (mostly against the pathetic N.L. West), the Angels have lost four of five on the highway. Even more disturbing: They’ve given up 71 runs in their last eight road games (and that includes a 3-0 Jered Weaver shutout in Cleveland).
The pitching matchup in Motown tonight isn’t pretty, with Detroit’s Rick Porcello (6-5, 4.47 ERA) squaring off against Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.75). Still, Porcello has been better — a lot better — of late, giving up just six earned runs in his last four starts covering 23 2/3 innings (2.28 ERA). And Detroit is 6-2 in his last eight efforts. Conversely, Santana in his last start survived just 1 1/3 innings in Cleveland, giving up eight runs in a 12-3 loss. In five of his last seven outings, the right-hander has allowed 32 runs (all earned), including seven home runs, in 21 2/3 innings—that’s a whopping 13.29 ERA. And while the Angels are 6-2 in Santana’s eight career starts against the Tigers (winning the last four in a row), he hasn’t faced them since 2009. (Besides, Detroit is 4-1 all-time when Porcello starts vs. the
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Friday’s Result: Tigers (PK) vs. Orioles (Win)