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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 21st (All times Eastern)
Texas Rangers (11-2) at Detroit Tigers (9-4), 1:05 & 7:05 p.m. (DH)
Probable Starting Pitchers: Game 1: Texas - Matt Harrison (2-0, 0.64) Detroit - Rick Porcello (1-0, 1.84)
Game 2: Texas - Neftali Feliz (1-0, 2.25) Detroit - Justin Verlander (1-1, 2.13)
(Sports Network) - Winners of seven straight games, the Texas Rangers get another crack at stretching their winning streak today when they battle Detroit in a day/night doubleheader at Comerica Park.
The second portion of the four-game series was rained out Friday, necessitating the split twin bill today.
Left-hander Matt Harrison, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball here in the early going, has pitched to a 0.64 earned run average and will start the afternoon contest. Harrison won for the second time in as many starts last Friday in Minnesota, as he allowed a run and seven hits in eight innings.
Dating back to last season, he is 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last seven regular-season outings. However, he is 6-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 12 career starts with six-plus days of rest.
"Hopefully my command is still there," Harrison said. "It's a long break, but I put my work in between starts and I feel good about it. I'm ready to go."
Harrison is 0-4 with a 7.43 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers. Additionally, Detroit has posted a 6-0 record this season in games in which the opponent's starting pitcher is left-handed.
Harrison has had trouble particularly with Ryan Raburn, who is 8-for-12 with a pair of homers and seven RBI lifetime against the southpaw.
Detroit, meanwhile, will counter with righty Rick Porcello in the opener. Porcello, who is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA, picked up a win on Sunday in Chicago, as he held the White Sox to a run and five hits in 7 2/3 innings.
Porcello has split his two starts with the Rangers and has pitched to a 6.30 ERA in those outings.
"This is probably one of the deepest lineups that we see," Porcello said of Texas. "They've got a lot of guys that can do damage. You just got to go out there and make pitches and throw strikes and just do the best you can to keep them off balance. It's a good team, there's not much else you can say."
The night game will have Neftali Feliz pitching for the Rangers and Justin Verlander for Detroit.
Feliz, who will make his third career start, didn't get a decision in a five- plus innings start at Minnesota on Sunday. He limited the Twins to five hits and three runs. The righty has eight career relief efforts vs. Detroit and three saves.
Verlander, who sports a 6-2 mark with a 2.31 ERA in nine games against the Rangers, threw a complete game on Monday at Kansas City. The powerful righty had nine strikeouts and gave up just two runs on seven hits. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning, as Detroit held on for the 3-2 win.
Texas continued to roll in Thursday's opener, as Ian Kinsler finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in a 10-3 win over Detroit.
Michael Young and Nelson Cruz also collected three hits and drove in two runs each for the Rangers, who matched the 1989 squad (11-2) for the best start to this point in any season.
Mike Napoli homered to help Yu Darvish (2-0) pick up the win. The 25-year-old right-hander walked five, but allowed two hits and a run while fanning five over 6 1/3 innings.
"We tried to make it simple today," said Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba of Darvish's approach. "He threw a lot of fastballs tonight."
Over the seven-game streak Texas has scored 53 runs while batting .345. It leads the majors with a .306 batting average and .521 slugging percentage, while ranking second in both homers (23) and runs scored (79). The Rangers also lead the AL with a 2.38 ERA and their starting pitchers are 9-0 for the first time in club history.
"We know that's a very good team - our people in Arizona said they were the best team they saw this spring," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But they are in our league, so we have to play them."
Don Kelly finished 3-for-4 and knocked in all three runs for the Tigers, whose four-game win streak came to a halt.
Adam Wilk (0-2) was tagged in the loss for 10 hits and three runs -- two earned -- over four-plus frames.
"I threw a lot of strikes, and they ended up getting a lot of hits," Wilk said.
The Tigers won six of nine versus the Rangers last season, winning four of six in Detroit. Detroit has captured 16 of the club's last 21 games against the Rangers at Comerica Park during the regular season dating back to September 11, 2007.
04/21 10:31:24 ET