Two of the league’s top offenses will look to take advantage of a pair of struggling pitching staffs on Monday when Detroit opens a three-game series in Texas.
While both the Tigers (60-64) and Rangers (62-63) have high-powered offenses — Detroit is seventh in the league in runs and Texas is first—both have had their problems at the plate recently. Neither team has had much success getting outs recently, though the Rangers—with 129 more runs allowed than the next-worst team in the AL—haven’t gotten good pitching all season.
Detroit’s problems came to a head this weekend when it allowed 30 runs while losing two of three to Baltimore. Tigers pitchers were tagged for a season-high 22 hits on Sunday in a 16-8 loss to the Orioles.
“It’s happened way too many times this year,” manager Jim Leyland told Detroit’s official Web site. “One of the main reasons we haven’t been able to maintain a streak is because we just haven’t pitched good.”
The Tigers’ pitching problems almost pale in comparison to the Rangers’ issues, however. Texas has given up 76 runs in its last nine games, and has yielded more than six runs per game in 2008.
The Rangers’ offense has kept pace with their porous pitching for most of the season, scoring a league-high 695 runs, but recently they’ve fallen off considerably. They’ve scored 11 runs in their last five games, and were held down again by Tampa Bay on Sunday in a 7-4 loss, its ninth in 11 games.
They’ll try to get their bats going against a face familiar to many in Arlington. Kenny Rogers (8-10, 4.95 ERA) has spent three stints spanning 12 seasons with the Rangers, and will make his second trip to Texas since joining the Tigers as a free agent prior to the 2006 season.
He lost that game, in April 2006, giving up five runs in 5 1-3 innings, but overall is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA against his former team while wearing a Detroit uniform.
Rogers was hammered by the Rangers in his lone start against them this season, allowing six runs and nine hits over 3 1-3 innings on April 23 before the Tigers eventually won 19-6.
Rogers has struggled in losing in his last four starts. He’s posted a 7.66 ERA in that stretch, including a 4-3 loss to Toronto on Wednesday when he gave up four runs in 6 1-3 innings.
The Tigers’ offense has let the team down lately, having scored just 21 runs in the previous six games before Sunday’s loss.
They’ll hope for better luck against Scott Feldman (4-5, 5.18), who’s coming off a disastrous outing. Feldman gave up 10 runs in the first inning, and 12 overall—six earned—in 2 2-3 innings on Tuesday, though he was bailed out as the Rangers rallied before losing 19-17.
“Nobody should ever score 10 runs in the first inning off you,” Feldman told Texas’ official Web site. “It’s pretty embarrassing, actually.”
The Tigers scored 37 runs in a three-game sweep of the Rangers in Detroit from May 22-24.