The Texas Rangers are looking like the most complete team in the American League and sent a message to the Detroit Tigers and ace Justin Verlander with a 10-4 thumping in Friday's series opener.
The Rangers are 7-1 in their last eight entering Saturday's middle game of the series.
Texas brutalized Verlander for eight runs in only 2 2/3 innings and has scored 51 runs in the past eight games. The Rangers are 8-3 in the last 11 meetings with the Tigers.
Detroit is doing its part offensively, putting up 45 runs over the last eight games, but the pitching staff has surrendered 41 runs in that span. Miguel Cabrera has hit safely in 13 of 14 games this month and leads the majors with 41 RBIs. Teammate Jhonny Peralta has also hit safely in 13 of his last 14, including a solo homer in Thursday's game. The Tigers have lost six of nine to drop into a tie with Cleveland atop the AL Central.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Detroit, KTXA (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Rick Porcello (1-2, 6.68 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Nick Tepesch (3-3, 4.03)
Porcello has pitched better than his numbers indicate, turning in three straight strong outings during which he has allowed a total of eight runs and gone at least six innings in each. He gave up two runs on four hits in six innings and left with the lead in his last start against Cleveland but the bullpen couldn't make it stand up.
Porcello has not fared well against the Rangers, going 2-3 with a 7.83 ERA in five starts. He's also allowed Texas to bat a collective .383 against him.
Tepesch will be looking to win back-to-back starts for the first time. The 24-year-old rookie is coming off one of his best efforts, limiting Houston to one run on four hits while striking out a career-best eight in six innings. He had lasted only four innings in his previous start, getting tagged for six runs (five earned) while allowing an uncharacteristic four walks.
Tepesch is holding opponents to a .241 batting average at Rangers Ballpark.
1. Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler, who is 6-for-10 against Porcello, tied Rafael Palmeiro's team record when he was hit by a pitch Thursday for the 54th time.
2. Tigers RF Torii Hunter needs two home runs to reach 300 for his career.
3. The Rangers placed RHP Alexi Ogando (biceps) on the 15-day disabled list. Josh Lindblom will be called up and make his start Monday.