|DETROIT ( VERLANDER )|
TEXAS ( DARVISH )
|965||DETROIT||+105||Ov 7.5,-110||+100||Ov 7.5,+100|
|966||TEXAS||-115||Un 7.5,-110||-110||Un 7.5,-120|
|vs Right-handed Starters||19-11||+3||19-11||5.5||0.288||0.353||3.6||0.232||0.290|
|Past 7 Games||3-4||-5.7||5-2||5.9||0.287||0.348||4.4||0.239||0.306|
|vs Right-handed Starters||15-9||+3.9||9-13||4.5||0.259||0.311||3.8||0.248||0.308|
|Past 7 Games||6-1||+5.1||3-4||5.9||0.286||0.338||4.1||0.238||0.297|
|5/2/2013||PORCELLO(R)||@ HOUSTON||LYLES(R)||7-3||W||-155||9.5 un||O||15||13||1||6||4||1|
|5/3/2013||FISTER(R)||@ HOUSTON||NORRIS(R)||4-3||W||-185||8 ov||U||6||6||1||9||9||0|
|5/4/2013||SCHERZER(R)||@ HOUSTON||HARRELL(R)||17-2||W||-200||8 un||O||21||9||0||6||4||1|
|5/5/2013||VERLANDER(R)||@ HOUSTON||HUMBER(R)||9-0||W||-290||8 un||O||13||8||1||4||6||0|
|5/8/2013||SANCHEZ(R)||@ WASHINGTON||ZIMMERMANN(R)||1-3||L||-115||7 un||U||7||9||1||8||4||1|
|5/9/2013||FISTER(R)||@ WASHINGTON||HAREN(R)||4-5||L||-120||7.5 ov||O||12||9||1||9||7||0|
|5/16/2013||VERLANDER(R)||@ TEXAS||DARVISH(R)|| |
|5/17/2013||PORCELLO(R)||@ TEXAS||TEPESCH(R)|| |
|5/18/2013||SANCHEZ(R)||@ TEXAS||GRIMM(R)|| |
|5/19/2013||FISTER(R)||@ TEXAS||HOLLAND(L)|| |
|5/21/2013||SCHERZER(R)||@ CLEVELAND||KLUBER(R)|| |
|5/22/2013||VERLANDER(R)||@ CLEVELAND||JIMENEZ(R)|| |
|5/23/2013|| ||MINNESOTA|| || |
|5/2/2013||GRIMM(R)||CHI WHITE SOX||SANTIAGO(L)||1-3||L||-155||8.5 un||U||3||8||0||8||9||0|
|5/6/2013||TEPESCH(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||FELDMAN(R)||2-9||L||-120||7.5 un||O||5||5||2||11||9||2|
|5/7/2013||GRIMM(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||PERALTA(R)||3-6||L||-115||8.5 un||O||7||5||0||9||5||1|
|5/8/2013||HOLLAND(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||LOHSE(R)||4-1||W||105||8 un||U||12||10||0||12||8||1|
|5/10/2013||OGANDO(R)||@ HOUSTON||KEUCHEL(L)||4-2||W||-210||9 ev||U||9||7||1||5||8||0|
|5/11/2013||DARVISH(R)||@ HOUSTON||BEDARD(L)||8-7||W||-270||8 ov||O||11||5||2||7||4||0|
|5/12/2013||TEPESCH(R)||@ HOUSTON||LYLES(R)||12-7||W||-140||9 un||O||17||8||1||9||5||1|
|5/13/2013||GRIMM(R)||@ OAKLAND||GRIFFIN(R)||1-5||L||110||8 un||U||7||3||0||8||6||0|
|5/14/2013||HOLLAND(L)||@ OAKLAND||COLON(R)||6-5||W||-115||7.5 un||O||10||7||0||11||11||2|
|5/15/2013||OGANDO(R)||@ OAKLAND||STRAILY(R)||6-2||W||105||8.5 un||U||7||7||0||5||7||1|
|DETROIT: HITTING: OF AUSTIN JACKSON doesn't make much contact, but manager Jim Leyland likes his speed in the leadoff spot. RYAN RABURN and RAMON SANTIAGO will split second base duties, with Raburn getting the majority of the starts. 3B MIGUEL CABRERA seems to have cleaned up his act. He's an MVP candidate. So is newcomer 1B PRINCE FIELDER who will try to keep slugging in his move to a pitchers' park. His presence was needed after DH VICTOR MARTINEZ was lost for the season with a knee injury. OF DELMON YOUNG is a pending free agent, and he hit well after escaping spacious Target Field. He'll nab the starting LF job but could also DH. OF BRENNAN BOESCH did enough pre-injury to earn an everyday role, but he'll again be in danger of fading over the summer. SS JHONNY PERALTA had a resurgence in 2011, and he's on the right side of 30. C ALEX AVILA might not hit for average, but his power is legit. Leyland favorite BRANDON INGE and DON KELLY will back up the All-Star corner infielders, so neither expect to get much playing time. Streaky OF ANDY DIRKS is a fourth outfielder. C GERALD LAIRD will spell Avila. |
STARTING PITCHING: You can't expect an identical stat line for JUSTIN VERLANDER; his opponent .236 batting average on balls in play suggests there was some luck involved in his MVP season. But he's still the best pitcher in the American League by a wide margin. DOUG FISTER's improved strikeout rate with the Tigers suggests he could sustain success as a quality No. 2 starter. MAX SCHERZER can still be outstanding when he's on, but he was inconsistent again last year. He could figure it out in his late-20s, but time is running out. RICK PORCELLO still has a ways to go. His mid-season success came against some weak lineups. He's still only 23, but he hasn't been able to beat hitters at any level in the pros. The Tigers are still searching for a No. 5 starter. Top prospect JACOB TURNER is only 20, but the Tigers haven't been shy about fast-tracking young arms. He was dominant in the minors, but torched in his first big-league stint. ANDY OLIVER appears to be the front-runner for this role, but DREW SMYLY is also a possibility.
RELIEF PITCHING: JOSE VALVERDE was perfect in 2011, but it was a surprising development considering his sliding K/BB ratio. For Tigers fans, he carries more risk than 49-for-49 would suggest. One of baseball's better set-up men, JOAQUIN BENOIT is an eighth-inning-only guy. He'd take over if Valverde got hurt. OCTAVIO DOTEL is another elite set-up man who will step up as the seventh-inning guy. As good as AL ALBURQUERQUE was in the regular season (one extra-base hit'a double'allowed in 43.1 innings!), he's out until at least the All-Star break after offseason elbow surgery. Lefty DANIEL SCHLERETH has a chance to be the closer of the future, but first he'll need to cut down on the walks.
|TEXAS: HITTING: 2B IAN KINSLER will lead off again. A few less at-'em balls and he's an MVP candidate. SS ELVIS ANDRUS is coming along offensively, but his poor SB% could lead to fewer attempts. Injuries are the only thing that will keep OF JOSH HAMILTON out of the MVP discussion. He'll likely start declining at age 35, but DH MICHAEL YOUNG can't help but put up numbers batting cleanup in this lineup. 3B ADRIAN BELTRE was unstoppable in Arlington. Like Hamilton, he's an MVP candidate if healthy. Injuries are piling up for OF NELSON CRUZ, who still has monster power but doesn't run as much anymore. C MIKE NAPOLI is MLB's best offensive catcher and will play some 1B on 'off' days. Because their lineup is stacked, Texas can play defensive-minded/offensively limited 1B MITCH MORELAND. And because Ron Washington would prefer to play Hamilton in left, speedy CF CRAIG GENTRY looks to have the edge over DAVID MURPHY for the starting job in center. Cuban import LEONYS MARTIN will start the season in Triple-A, but JULIO BORBON could earn a significant OF role. |
STARTING PITCHING: COLBY LEWIS can overpower when he's on, but as a flyball pitcher in cozy Arlington he's going to have a handful of ugly days. The much-ballyhooed YU DARVISH brings a deep arsenal of pitches and a durable frame from Japan. He's probably the best Japanese arm to ever cross the Pacific. Lefty MATT HARRISON solidified his rotation spot. He has topped out as a respectable No. 3-type starter. DEREK HOLLAND has top-of-the-rotation upside. Consistency has been an issue, but hopefully another year and some big postseason moments helped to cure that. The big story is NEFTALI FELIZ moving to the rotation. He was considered a future ace in the minors, but the transition might not be easy. His K/BB ratio plummeted last year and his flyball tendencies could spell disaster in Arlington. Keep in mind the Rangers made a successful closer-to-ace switch with C.J. Wilson. Top prospect MARTIN PEREZ could be an option in the second half.
RELIEF PITCHING: Veteran JOE NATHAN was brought in and handed the closer's job. He struggled in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, but most pitchers who've had the procedure don't come all the way back until their second full season. If Nathan falters, MIKE ADAMS could be next in line. He had no trouble transitioning from pitcher-friendly San Diego in the National League to hitter-friendly Arlington and the A.L.'s superior bats. KOJI UEHARA would also be in the closer discussion if Nathan falters, but he was unhappy about being traded from Baltimore and faltered for the Rangers late last year. ALEXI OGANDO got a huge boost from his defense and his bullpen before a late-season collapse. He threw by far a career-high in innings; better stamina would allow him to take the next step and possibly rejoin the rotation.
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER AL PREVIEW (DETROIT-TEXAS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Tigers-Rangers Preview* ========================
Detroit (22-15) at Texas (25-14), 8:05 p.m. EDT
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Justin Verlander says it's May. Yu Darvish says it's not the first great opposing pitcher he's faced, and won't be his last.
True on all counts. These showdowns don't come along every day, though. And this one - the AL's strikeout king against his potential heir - is an enticing as they come.
The hard-throwing right-handers from Detroit and Texas will meet Thursday night in a billing that really hasn't been matched in Arlington since Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens faced off at old Arlington Stadium in 1989 - five years before Rangers Ballpark opened.
"That's pretty good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I would say that would be pretty interesting, I would think."
You would think. But you wouldn't be Verlander, the staff ace for Detroit. Or Darvish, the Rangers' second-year star. Or Texas manager Ron Washington.
"In May, getting excited, I try not to," Washington said. "It's great for the fans. If it doesn't go in our favor, it doesn't end our season. If Verlander has his stuff, it will be a long night. If Darvish has his stuff, it will be a long night. By long night, I mean runs will be at a premium, and it will be the first one to make a mistake."
That's pretty much the way it was April 30, 1989, when Ryan and the Rangers beat Clemens and the Boston Red Sox 2-1. Both went eight innings. Clemens gave up six hits with six strikeouts. Ryan limited the Red Sox to three hits and fanned 11.
Ryan is now the CEO in Texas, and figures to be watching from his usual seat in the first row near home plate.
"It's a nice matchup," Leyland said. "It's good for baseball."
Darvish is baseball's strikeout leader with 80 and on pace for 300, which hasn't been reached since Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling did it as Arizona teammates in 2002. Verlander has been the AL's strikeout leader three of the past four seasons.
Verlander doesn't push 100 mph on the radar gun quite as much as he used to, but always seems to find the velocity he needs in big moments.
Darvish can hit 95 mph and beyond, but the Japanese star is known more for varying speeds on his fastball and an array of pitches that had him within an out of a perfect game in his first start of the season at Houston.
"I saw him pitch last year a couple times," Verlander said. "I know he's striking out the world this year, but other than that, I haven't seen too much."
By their standards, both starters are coming off subpar games.
Darvish gave up two home runs and fell behind 3-1 in a rematch with the light-hitting Astros on Saturday, but improved to 6-1 when the Rangers rallied and won 8-7 despite a leaky Texas bullpen. He "only" had eight strikeouts in seven innings after getting 14 for the second time this season in his previous start. He's had at least 10 strikeouts four times.
Verlander had his worst outing of the year in a 7-6 loss to Cleveland that same day, giving up six hits and four runs in just five innings. He walked a season-high five and struck out seven.
Still, Verlander (4-3) has the edge over Darvish in ERA, 1.93 to 2.73.
"When I made the decision to come to the big leagues, I knew that I was going to be facing a lot of great pitchers," Darvish said through an interpreter. "I wasn't just thinking Verlander but there are many other great pitchers as well."
And Verlander isn't just thinking Darvish, or big matchup, especially this early.
"You don't need to get too amped up, especially for a game in May, and try to do too much," Verlander said. "That's the wrong way to approach it."
Washington sees the same approach from his prized ace-in-the-making.
"Because he's a competitor, he knows who's on the other side," Washington said. "But to stick your chest out and say, 'I relish that,' it's a game in May. He wants to win it as bad as Verlander wants to win it, but it's certainly not a championship or World Series matchup. It's just a ballgame that's on the schedule."
Verlander is 7-2 with a 2.02 ERA in 11 starts against Texas, going 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four outings at Rangers Ballpark.
Darvish won all three of his starts against Detroit last season behind a 3.60 ERA. He struck out 23 in 20 innings but walked 11.
The Tigers (22-16) enter this four-game series following Wednesday's 7-5 loss to Houston that prevented them from completing a three-game sweep. Detroit has dropped five of eight following a 10-2 stretch.
Texas (26-14) won for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday, 6-2 in Oakland.
|Last Updated: 10/21/2014 7:20:55 AM EST|