Justin Verlander is feeling optimistic about rediscovering his All-Star form after making an adjustment to his throwing motion.
That could become a little easier should Josh Hamilton have to sit for the Los Angeles Angels.
With Hamilton's status uncertain, Verlander will try to help the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers bounce back with their fifth win in seven games Saturday night in the third of a four-game set in Anaheim.
After allowing nine runs over 12 1-3 innings in his previous two starts, Verlander (9-8, 4.84 ERA) said he changed his arm action as he prepared to open the second half of the season against Arizona on Monday.
It seemed to help as the 2011 AL Cy Young award winner allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 4-3 victory over the Diamondbacks. It was only the second time in four July starts that he gave up fewer than four runs.
"(I) went out and tried to throw the way that I used to throw, and immediately, when I got on the mound to throw my bullpen to warm up, I was able to locate the way that I felt that I should," Verlander told MLB's official website. "I felt pretty easy, and that carried over into the game."
The six-time All-Star hopes to keep making positive strides while helping the Tigers (57-43) avoid their eighth loss in nine games at Angel Stadium following Friday's 2-1 defeat.
Verlander has gone 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five career starts in Anaheim, though he hasn't faced the Angels since 2012. Albert Pujols is 5 for 8 with two doubles in the matchup, while Mike Trout's only hit in three at-bats was a home run.
Hamilton has gone 5 for 17 with seven strikeouts versus Verlander, though he may be sidelined after leaving the opener in the fourth inning with left knee soreness. The former AL MVP is batting .326 in his last 11 games.
Efren Navarro could be back in left field after going 2 for 3 with the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth inning.
Los Angeles (61-41), which won for only the third time in seven games, has totaled 13 runs while hitting .210 over its last five. The Angels, however, pulled within two games of AL West-leading Oakland on Friday with the A's loss at Texas.
Now they'll try to keep closing the gap with right-hander Matt Shoemaker (7-3, 4.54) on the mound.
Shoemaker allowed four runs with a season high-tying 10 strikeouts over 5 2-3 innings in Monday's 4-2 home loss to Baltimore. He gave up home runs in the first and sixth innings, but retired 15 straight in between in his first start since July 3.
''I thought he threw the ball extremely well,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''For not having pitched in 14 days, to be able to get to that point in the game was great.''
Shoemaker is 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA in six home starts as he faces the Tigers for the first time. Detroit had averaged 6.0 runs and hit .320 with runners in scoring position over its previous five games before finishing with six hits Friday.
Slugger Miguel Cabrera had one of the few highlights with his 16th home run. The All-Star first baseman has gone 9 for 21 with two homers and six RBIs in five games on the road trip.