(Photo credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports)
During their most recent series against the Detroit Tigers in late July, the Los Angeles Angels announced they wouldn't trade Shohei Ohtani.
The Angels were hoping they could make a playoff push and convince Ohtani to re-sign when he entered free agency this offseason. Since that series, Ohtani sustained elbow and oblique injuries, several other lineup regulars were sidelined by ailments and Los Angeles dropped out of the American League wild-card chase.
Ohtani won't pitch again this year, but he hopes to return to the lineup as a designated hitter as early as Friday, the start of a three-game series against the visiting Tigers. He appears to be close to returning to hit for the first time since Sept. 3.
"(Wednesday) just wasn't the right day to go," manager Phil Nevin said before the Angels' 3-2 road loss to the Seattle Mariners.
Griffin Canning (7-6, 4.34 ERA) will start the series opener for the Angels (68-79). He lost his past two starts, including an outing against the Cleveland Guardians on Sept. 6, when he allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"He didn't throw a lot of strikes, for one," Nevin said. "When you throw strikes like he did the other day, he's going to get a lot of outs. And that's the learning part of it, controlling your anxiety, controlling your emotions and letting it slow down. That's the case with a lot of young players."
Canning issued only two walks but found himself in a lot of deep counts while throwing 92 pitches.
"I didn't have great fastball command," he said. "I just kind of had to mix and match."
Canning had a no-decision against Detroit this season, giving up two runs and striking out eight in five innings on July 25. He is 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in three career starts against the Tigers.
He will be opposed by Tarik Skubal (5-4, 3.47 ERA), who has won both of his September starts. The left-hander held the Chicago White Sox to two runs in seven innings on Sept. 3, then blanked the White Sox for five innings while recording nine strikeouts on Saturday.
Skubal was mad at himself for requiring 95 pitches to get 15 outs.
"I thought I had too many uncompetitive misses, especially with the stuff I had," he said. "I thought it was pretty good. And nine strikeouts is always good, but you can get that in seven innings as well."
He has faced the Angels only once in his career, when he gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 18, 2021.
The Tigers salvaged the finale of a three-game series against the visiting Cincinnati Reds with an 8-2 victory on Thursday afternoon. Matt Vierling hit his first career grand slam.
Parker Meadows ended an 0-for-28 skid with a seventh-inning single. Meadows has played regularly in center field since he was called up from Triple-A Toledo on Aug. 21.
He is batting .194.
"I'm not sure he's had this stretch the last couple of years where you feel like success isn't really coming," Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. "Every hard-hit ball is getting caught, every count seems to be two strikes."
--Field Level Media