It's never easy to directly replace a reliable arm like Anibal Sanchez, but Jose Alvarez has done enough so far to uphold the status quo in the Tigers rotation.
Alvarez will make his third career start Wednesday against Tommy Hanson and the Angels in the second of a three-game set at Comerica Park. Alvarez has allowed three runs, eight hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in 11 innings. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning in his Major League debut.
"The kid did a fantastic job," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before Alvarez's second start. "And we said if something came up, he would deserve a start, and we're giving him a start."
Hanson has gone 2-1 in his last four starts, but has allowed 15 earned runs and 26 hits in 19 2/3 innings. He's 4-2 on the season with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He threw six shutout innings in his only career start against Detroit, which came on April 19.
"I faced them at home and threw well, so hopefully I can go out and do what I did last time," Hanson said. "But I think the biggest thing for me is hitting my spots like I didn't do my last outing. I have to do a better job of that the first time through, especially against this team."
Hanson has a 6.86 ERA in four starts since coming off the bereavement list following the death of his step-brother. He gave up seven runs in two innings on Thursday in an eventual comeback win against the Mariners.
But he isn't using any off-field distractions as an excuse, instead concentrating on trying to stifle one of baseball's best offenses.
"I was throwing well before, so I don't think that's an issue anymore," Hanson said. "I just think my last outing I was leaving balls middle and they hit them hard."
Angels: Hamilton goes 3-for-5 in return to lineup
An injured wrist forced Josh Hamilton to the bench in the Angels' three-game series against the Pirates this weekend, besides a half-inning of defense. The outfielder said he had to keep the bat out of his hand.
Tuesday, he said he "couldn't ask to feel any better" and the Angels hoped the time off would help revitalize the five-time All-Star. He was hitting just .207 with a .640 OPS entering the Angels' win against the Tigers, but went 3-for-5 with three runs and an RBI Tuesday.
For a club that's nine games below .500, the Angels could really use that kind of production from Hamilton.
Tigers: Struggles against Angels continue
The Angels have won seven straight games against the Tigers, outscoring them 49-17 in that time. It's their longest current winning streak against any team.
Tuesday, Los Angeles used an eight-run fifth to beat Detroit, 14-8.
• The Angels agreed to terms with lefty Hunter Green, their top Draft pick. The 17-year-old was the 59th overall selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, and had previously committed to the University of Kentucky.
• Miguel Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-run homer in the third inning Tuesday.
• The Angels have now scored eight or more runs in an inning twice this year. Both have come against the Tigers.