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ARI@DET: Verlander strikes out 14 over eight innings

Dan Haren knows what he's up against Tuesday.

The Angels' right-hander will face the Tigers' Justin Verlander, who leads the American League in wins and strikeouts and has given up the fewest walks and hits per nine innings.

One pitcher whose first half compares with Verlander's is Angels starter Jered Weaver.

"I don't think anybody's even close to those two guys," Haren said. "I'm looking forward to the challenge of facing the Tigers."

Haren isn't having a bad season himself. He is 8-5 with a 2.85 ERA, 10th in the AL.

"They're totally different in the way they pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Verlander has that electric power stuff. He relies on stuff and movement, changing movement from fastball to breaking ball to changeup. As opposed to Dan Haren, who relies on locating pitches with a different variety of looks. They have different ways of going about it, but are two of the best pitchers in baseball."

Surprisingly, several Angels hitters have hit Verlander well in their careers. Maicer Izturis, Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Erick Aybar have all hit better than .300 against Detroit's ace.

The Angels won the opener of the three-game series, 5-1, on Monday.

Tigers: Knapp key in Verlander's development
The Tigers fired pitching coach Rick Knapp over the weekend, but manager Jim Leyland said Knapp was instrumental in the development of several of Detroit's pitchers.

"If you are going to shed some of that blame to Rick Knapp, about the overall staff not doing as well as we expected, you also have to give him credit for [Jose] Valverde and Verlander and [Al] Alburquerque and other guys," Leyland said.

Angels: Looking to keep pace with Texas
The Angels moved into a first-place tie with the Rangers on Sunday, the first time they've been at the top of the division since May 27.

The Angels have won six of seven and each of their last six series, compiling a 15-6 record in their last 21 games.

• Abreu entered Monday's game a career .335 hitter against the Tigers, fourth-highest among active players.

Worth noting:
• The Angels are 51-28 against the Tigers since 2002.

• If Verlander wins Tuesday, he will become the third Tigers pitcher in 23 years to win eight straight starts, joining Jeremy Bonderman (2007) and Dave Mlicki (1999).

• Verlander has gone at least six innings in each of his 18 starts this season. Comments