TORONTO — The Angels will face Detroit's top three pitchers -- Justin Verlander, Jarrod Washburn and Edwin Jackson -- in a three-game series against the American League Central division-leading Tigers that begins tonight in Angel Stadium.
They will also have to contend with a slugging first baseman who, had things gone a little differently in the winter after the 2007 season, would have been in the Angels' lineup instead of Detroit's.
Owner Arte Moreno said he thought the Angels had a trade in place with Florida for Miguel Cabrera twice in December 2007, only to have the deal fall apart because the Marlins increased their demands at the last minute.
Cabrera, then a third baseman, was eventually dealt to the Tigers and is batting .338, with 25 home runs and 75 runs batted in. He is third in the league with a .405 on-base percentage and fourth with a .559 slugging percentage.
"When you trade, you have to give up some young players," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "But the talent that was going to leave our organization in that deal, it wasn't equitable."
The Marlins insisted second baseman Howie Kendrick be included in any package. They also wanted pitcher Ervin Santana, catcher Jeff Mathis and either infield prospect Brandon Wood or then-pitching prospect Nick Adenhart.
The Angels offered Kendrick, Mathis and Adenhart. As acrimony grew between the clubs as the winter meetings began, the Angels pulled Kendrick from their offer, and the Marlins turned their attention to the Tigers.
The Angels began 2008 without "the big bat" fans were clamoring for. A year later, fueled in large part by the maturity of several young players who several teams have asked for in trades, the Angels have one of baseball's most potent offenses.
Titan-ic win for Toronto
Former Cal State Fullerton standout Ricky Romero gave up two runs and eight hits in six innings Sunday to gain the win for the Blue Jays. The rookie left-hander improved to 11-5.
The Angels had one chance to make a game of it, scoring twice in the sixth inning to trim the deficit to 8-2, and they had runners on second and third with two outs. But Romero struck out Chone Figgins with a 93-mph fastball to end the inning.
Vladimir Guerrero had three hits, and Bobby Abreu, Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales each had two hits for the Angels, who were 6-4 on a trip through Baltimore, Cleveland and Toronto.
Right fielder Travis Snider had three hits, including a home run, and Adam Lind had three hits for the Blue Jays.
One bright spot for the Angels' pitching staff: Shane Loux, who gave up 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings of his last two appearances, threw 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Where: Angel Stadium.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 980, 1330.
Probable pitchers: Jered Weaver vs. Justin Verlander. Tuesday, 7 p.m. -- John Lackey (8-6, 4.00) vs. Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 3.18); Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. -- Joe Saunders (9-7, 5.33) vs. Edwin Jackson (10-5, 2.86).
Update: Weaver rebounded from his worst start of the season, in which he was rocked for eight runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 16-6 loss in Baltimore on Aug. 14, with one of his best games, a seven-hit shutout in Cleveland on Wednesday night. After an off year in 2008, when he was 11-17 with a 4.84 earned-run average, Verlander has returned to the dominant form that made him one of baseball's best young pitchers in 2006 and 2007. He ranks seventh in the American League in ERA and has a league-leading 204 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings. In the eighth inning of an Aug. 13 game against Boston, his fastball was clocked at 99 mph. "Last year, he was at 90-92 mph," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Verlander. "He's got his fuzz back."
-- Mike DiGiovanna