The Texas Rangers are averaging 6.0 runs during their hot start, forcing teams to try to match them at the plate.
Their pitching hasn’t given the opposition much of a chance to score at all.
Texas has posted back-to-back shutouts and given up one run during three straight victories, a stretch of dominance C.J. Wilson(notes) looks to continue against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Tuesday afternoon.
The Rangers (9-1) have already played four games in which they’ve hit at least three home runs, but lately their pitching staff hasn’t needed much support.
Solo homers from Ian Kinsler(notes) and Adrian Beltre(notes) were all Derek Holland(notes) and three relievers needed Sunday in a 3-0 win at Baltimore, and fifth starter Alexi Ogando(notes) got similar support Monday at Detroit.
The right-hander gave up two hits over seven innings - outdueling Tigers ace Justin Verlander(notes) before leaving with a finger injury - and Michael Young(notes) and Mitch Moreland(notes) had RBI doubles in the seventh to give Texas a 2-0 victory.
The Rangers, who matched the 1989 club for the best 10-game start in franchise history, lead the majors in holding opponents to a .193 average.
Wilson (1-0, 2.84 ERA), who’s been bothered by a sore left hamstring, will be looking to build on his first victory. The left-hander held Seattle to two earned runs over seven innings in a 7-3 win Wednesday.
“He’s giving everything he has, even though the velocity is not there,” manager Ron Washington told the Rangers’ official website. “You can still see the competitive spirit, you can still see him attacking hitters and you can still see him making pitches. Once he gets comfortable, you’re going to see the velocity come back.”
Detroit (3-7) is the only AL team Wilson has never faced, and he should be encouraged by the Tigers’ .209 average (9 for 43) and 15 strikeouts against the two lefty starters they’ve faced.
“Jackson right now is swinging at too many balls. That sums up the situation for me,” Leyland told the Tigers’ official website. “Right now, he’s in one of those grooves where he’s probably anxious to get a hit, maybe a little overanxious to get a hit. … But he’ll get out of that. He’s a grinder. He’ll figure that out.”
Miguel Cabrera(notes) is hitting .382 but hasn’t gotten much help, a major reason why Washington intentionally walked Detroit’s first baseman in the ninth inning Monday to bring up the potential winning run - .225 hitting Victor Martinez(notes).
Those issues at the plate have put more pressure on the Tigers’ rotation, and Brad Penny(notes) (0-1, 11.17) has yet to have a good outing. After giving up eight runs over 4 1-3 innings in a 10-6 loss to New York on April 2, Penny surrendered four runs over 5 1-3 innings and left without a decision Thursday in a 9-5 loss to the Orioles.
Penny didn’t face the Rangers last season and was 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA in two starts against Texas in 2009. Kinsler has homered twice in five at-bats against Penny, while Mike Napoli(notes) is 4 for 8 with three homers.
Texas last recorded three straight shutouts May 7-9, 2008.