Justin Verlander: Detroit Tigers SP Closes Out a Doubleheader Against the Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers (11-2) and Detroit Tigers (9-4) will play the second game of a double-header on Saturday night inside Comerica Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers  

Detroit Tigers SP Justin Verlander picked up his first victory of the 2012 season last time out

Texas has won all six games on its current nine-game road rip, and has captured victories in seven straight overall.  The Rangers’ 11-2 start matches the best record in team history through 13 games, with the pitching staff leading the way.  Over the course of the last seven games, the staff has allowed three or fewer runs in each contest, while posting a 2.22 ERA over the last nine games.  Outfield Josh Hamilton has been the catalyst offensively, hitting .545 with three home runs and nine RBI in his last five games.   Texas is 38-25 in April the last two-plus seasons.

Rangers starting pitcher Neftali Feliz (1-0, 2.25 ERA) has led the team to two victories to start the season, including a 4-3 road win over the Minnesota Twins last time out.  He didn’t receive a decision in that contest, giving up three runs and five hits over five frames.  In eight career relief appearances against the Tigers, Feliz has an even 1-1 record and three saves, surrendering four runs and 10 hits over 7.2 innings of work.  The right-hander didn’t have a decision in 20 daytime appearances in 2011, but didn’t allow an earned run and opponents hit just .067 against him.

Detroit suffered a 10-3 loss in the series opener against Texas, but has still compiled a dominating 158-92 record inside this ballpark since the start of the 2009 campaign.  The Tigers have also managed to win 16 of their last 21 home games in this series.  Third baseman Miguel Cabrera is the player to watch on the offensive end, hitting .369 with eight home runs and 45 RBI in 43 career games versus the Rangers.  Detroit is 28-30 when playing on Saturday the last two-plus campaigns.

Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (1-1, 2.13 ERA) notched his first victory of the season last time out in a 3-2 road win over the Kansas City Royals, allowing two earned runs and seven hits in a complete-game effort.  Last year’s Cy Young Award winner has issued five walks and collected 23 strikeouts in 25.1 combined innings this year.  In nine career starts versus the Rangers, Verlander has tallied a 6-2 record and 2.31 ERA, but was handed a 2-0 home loss in his only start last year on April 11.

Bettors will likely back the Rangers due to their 40-17 record versus right-handed starters, while the Tigers are 2-5 versus AL West clubs.

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