#925 Texas Rangersvs.#926 Detroit Tigers
Written by Chris Kubala
Texas Rangers (22-20 SU, 25-17 RL, 19-23 O/U) vs. Detroit Tigers (20-19 SU, 19-10 RL, 22-16-1 O/U)
MLB: Saturday, May 20, 2017, Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan, 7:15 pm ET
Lines: Detroit -148, Texas +138; Over/Under: 8.5
A pair of American League foes continue their series in the Motor City. The Texas Rangers look to keep their scorching stretch going as they play the second of three against the Detroit Tigers Saturday night. Texas won their ninth in a row by downing Philadelphia 8-4 at home Thursday to sweep that series. Detroit won their second straight by downing Baltimore 6-5 at home in the rubber game of their series Thursday. The pitching matchup for Friday’s series opener saw Nick Martinez pitch for Texas against Detroit’s Daniel Norris. First pitch was set for 7:10 pm ET.
Texas reeled off a ninth straight win and jumped two games above the .500 mark after sweeping the Phillies with Thursday’s triumph. After trailing 2-0 after four and a half innings, the Rangers took control by scoring five times in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the bottom of the sixth. Nomar Mazara (run, two RBI) and Ryan Rua (run, three RBI) each had two hits to pace Texas in the victory. The Rangers finished with nine hits but benefited by drawing seven walks in the game. Martin Perez (2-5) had a solid start to pick up the victory. He threw seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
A.J. Griffin is slated to make his seventh start of the year for the Rangers in this contest. He looks to maintain his unblemished record on the season. Griffin is 4-0 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.019 WHIP, nine walks and 30 strikeouts over 34.1 innings of work this season. He recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came Sunday at home against the A’s. Griffin threw five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Texas won the game, 6-4. Griffin is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, five walks and 14 strikeouts over 19 innings in his last three starts. This is his fifth career start against the Tigers in this contest. Griffin is 1-2 with an 8.53 ERA and a 1.895 WHIP over 19 innings of work in those contests. He is 1-1 with an 8.76 ERA and a 1.946 WHIP over 12.1 innings in his three starts at Comerica Park.
Detroit ended up taking two of three from the Orioles at home and stood one game behind first place Minnesota entering Friday night. The Tigers continue to have Miguel Cabrera out of the lineup as he battles an oblique injury. Alex Avila (RBI) was the only Tigers player with multiple hits in the game as he had two. J.D. Martinez (his fifth) and Victor Martinez (his third) each homered for Detroit in the contest. Jordan Zimmermann (4-2) picked up the win on the mound after tossing six innings: he allowed four runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Alex Wilson worked the ninth for his second save of the year.
Justin Verlander takes the mound for his ninth start of the year for the Tigers. He comes in 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA, a 1.428 WHIP, 25 walks and 49 strikeouts over 48.1 innings of work this season. Verlander was handed the defeat in his last start, which came Sunday on the road against Anaheim. He threw six innings, allowing four runs on five hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in a 4-1 Detroit defeat. Verlander is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP, 12 walks and 19 strikeouts over 19 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 18th career start against the Rangers in this contest. Verlander is 9-5 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.129 WHIP over 106.1 innings in those starts. He is 92-48 with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.142 WHIP over 1,189 innings in his 177 career starts at Comerica Park.
The Rangers have been white hot and a lot of that can be attributed to surprisingly good pitching. Texas had recorded eight quality starts in their nine game win streak entering Friday. How long the Rangers can keep that going with guys like Perez, Andrew Cashner and Nick Martinez taking up three of the slots in the rotation remains to be seen. Verlander is plugging along just like usual: he has always pitched well at home. If Cabrera can get back in the lineup, things tip more Detroit’s way but in the end, Verlander gets things done for the Tigers.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.