Losing four straight at home to a last-place club couldn’t have sent the Texas Rangers into the All-Star break on a worse note, but they quickly bounced back in one of baseball’s toughest places to win.
The Detroit Tigers hope their own home-field advantage can help them move past a woeful start to the second half.
The Tigers’ losing streak hit five with a stunning four-game road sweep, but they’ll look to build on the AL’s best home record Monday night in the first of three against first-place Texas.
The Rangers (53-39) limped into the break with the memory of four consecutive home losses to Baltimore fresh in their minds, but a few days off seemed to refresh the AL West leaders. They opened the second half by taking three of four from Boston at Fenway Park, capping the series victory with a 4-2 win Sunday.
Despite the impressive performance in that road set, Texas might have a tough time in Detroit. The Tigers (48-42) have won seven consecutive series in their home park.
Detroit is 32-13 at Comerica, but that’s not to say the Tigers are coming in on a high note. They scored eight runs in losing four straight at Cleveland to begin the second half, culminating in a 7-2 defeat Sunday that dropped Jim Leyland’s club to 16-29 on the road.
“Shame on us,” Leyland said. “This club appeared like it wasn’t ready to play this weekend and that’s the manager’s responsibility. That’s not the players. I’m shocked, really.”
Scott Feldman(notes) (5-8, 5.32 ERA) has struggled throughout this season, and he was particularly bad in his last two outings against the Tigers. He gave up six runs and 10 hits over 2 1-3 innings of a 13-5 loss July 29, then surrendered eight runs - four earned - over 3 2-3 innings in an 8-4 defeat April 24.
Cabrera is 4 for 7 against Feldman.
The right-hander did manage to go into the break on a relatively high note, holding the Orioles to two runs over seven innings of a 7-6, 10-inning loss July 9.
“He was great, he really was,” manager Ron Washington told the Rangers’ official website. “He had his sinker working, he used his off-speed pitches very well tonight.”
Jeremy Bonderman(notes) (5-6, 4.79) can relate to Feldman’s uneven first half, and he also went into the break with a positive performance. He held Minnesota to three runs and four hits over six innings of a 7-4 win July 10.
Like many of his teammates, Bonderman has benefited from playing at home. He has a 3.63 ERA in nine games at Comerica, compared to 6.11 in eight road outings.
Bonderman is 2-1 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts versus Texas. One Ranger who won’t be happy to face Bonderman is Vladimir Guerrero(notes), who is 5 for 24 (.208) with 10 strikeouts versus the right-hander.