Tigers-Rangers Preview


Roy Oswalt looked very comfortable in his Texas Rangers debut last week.

He's looked similarly at ease when facing Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.

Though he has plenty of experience with those Detroit sluggers, Oswalt will pitch against the Tigers for the first time Wednesday night as he tries to help the Rangers capture their sixth straight series.

Texas (46-29) signed Oswalt (1-0, 1.35 ERA) to a minor-league deal May 29 and he made his debut Friday a victorious one, giving up one run with six strikeouts over 6 2-3 innings in a 4-1 home win over Colorado.

"I won't tell you I wasn't nervous," Oswalt said after a 110-pitch effort. "If you don't have butterflies, you might as well get out of the game."

Although the right-hander has never faced Detroit (36-38), he has seen Fielder and Cabrera the most among Tigers hitters. Fielder is 5 for 36 with a homer and nine strikeouts and Cabrera is 3 for 15.

Fielder has a homer among three hits and has driven in five in the first two games in this series. The first baseman is hitting .375 with three homers, 17 RBIs and a 1.077 OPS over his last 19 road games.

Cabrera, meanwhile, was finally held in check in Tuesday's 7-5 loss, going 0 for 3 and being hit by a pitch. He's a career .372 regular-season hitter against the Rangers with 23 RBIs in 20 games in Arlington.

Any discussion of Texas offensively, of course, begins with Josh Hamilton.

The slugger, who leads the majors in RBIs (67) and slugging percentage (.656), appears to be finding his way out of a 4-for-24 slump entering this series. Hamilton went deep Monday and Tuesday after an 11-game drought, and he's 8 for 25 with four homers and eight RBIs in six games against Detroit this year.

The Tigers, who won 8-2 on Monday, are trying to avoid dropping a second straight series after winning their previous four. Detroit missed a chance to reach .500 on Tuesday for the first time since it was 18-18 on May 15.

Doug Fister (1-4, 2.72) will face the Rangers for the first time since winning Game 3 of last year's ALCS by allowing two runs over 7 1-3 innings in a 5-2 home victory. He's 2-3 with a 4.38 ERA in six regular-season starts against them, though he was hit hard in his lone outing in Arlington.

Fister is 0-3 with a 3.23 ERA in five 2012 road outings - all losses for Detroit.

Hamilton is 2 for 10 in the regular season against the right-hander, but Nelson Cruz (7 for 14), David Murphy (6 for 16) and Adrian Beltre (4 for 11) have all fared better.

Beltre is 14 for 25 during a seven-game hitting streak, going 4 for 8 in this series.

Wednesday could mark the big league debut of left-hander Martin Perez, the Rangers' top pitching prospect. Perez was recalled from the minors Tuesday and will work out of the bullpen.