Starters for Angels, Tigers look to prove their worth

It would not be wrong to say starting pitcher Griffin Canning has had a disappointing season, but the Los Angeles Angels’ right-hander is moving in the right direction if his most recent start is any indication.

Canning (3-8, 4.72 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels on Saturday night when they host the Detroit Tigers in Anaheim, Calif.

Canning has had his share of setbacks in his career, including a back injury that cost him all of the 2022 season. But he bounced back last year and performed adequately (7-8, 4.32 ERA), especially considering he had been out for so long.

While his win-loss record does not look good this season, he’s had his moments. Of his 16 starts, five were quality starts. But he was credited with a victory in just two of those five starts.

His most recent start, however, was his best of the year — a season-high seven innings Monday against Oakland in which he allowed one run on five hits and one walk in a 5-1 victory.

The key? First-pitch strikes. Against the A’s, he threw a first-pitch strike to 19 of the 25 batters he faced.

“I’m just proud of that,” Canning said. “It’s what we preach, and I haven’t necessarily done it very well. I’m super happy about it. … Just kind of trusting my fastball a bit more, just knowing the guys I can kind of jump ahead with fastballs against and go from there.”

Canning is 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in four career starts vs. Detroit.

Tigers starter Reese Olson (2-8, 3.35 ERA) will make his 16th start of the season and can relate to Canning. Olson’s win-loss record doesn’t necessarily reflect how he’s pitched.

Olson has allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of his 15 starts but has just two wins. He’s had five games in which he did not allow any earned runs.

But Olson has also has had some rough spots, including his first three starts in June when he allowed 18 runs and 28 hits in 14 2/3 innings.

“I know I have the ability to be a good pitcher in this league,” Olson said after a 7-5 loss to the Nationals during that stretch. “It wasn’t very long (ago) that it felt like every time I went out there, I was putting up six, seven zeros. Just kind of gotta flush this rough patch that I’m going through and work with the staff here, and I’m confident I’m going to get back on track.”

Olson did get back on track, responding in his next start by throwing six scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves on June 17, then allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings Sunday in an 11-2 win over the White Sox in his most recent start.

Olson has never faced the Angels.

–Field Level Media