04/25/10 4:41 PM ET
Series finale all about starting pitchers
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
The mound matters Monday. Matt Harrison will take the hill for the Rangers, while the Tigers counter with Jeremy Bonderman.
"The lack of production from our starting pitching is a problem," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "And we have to be careful with the bullpen."
Leyland has a point.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer was charged with three runs in seven innings Friday, but in the two games that followed, the Tigers' starters have allowed 10 runs in seven innings of work. Rick Porcello yielded six runs in the Rangers' 8-4 victory Sunday.
Leyland said managing the bullpen can be tricky. Sometimes teams must protect the bullpen in a game and as a result, the team ends up losing the game. However, failure to protect the bullpen can result in a 10-game losing streak or overuse, which can land a reliever on the disabled list.
That's where Bonderman comes in. In his last start, he gave up three runs within five batters of the outing, but allowed a lone infield hit to the next 19 batters. He commanded his fastball and slider down in the strike zone much better than he had in his previous starts, and has worked with catcher Alex Avila to induce some key outs with his new-found splitter.
Bonderman is 2-1 with a 4.71 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers, but hasn't pitched in Texas since 2004.
"It's simple," Leyland said. "It's about pitching and our pitchers have not done well."
The Rangers are also looking for a better effort from Harrison this time around. He lasted just four-plus innings in his last start against the Red Sox on Wednesday, allowing six runs on five hits and three walks. He was given a 4-0 lead and couldn't hold it, surrendering three home runs.
The Rangers are also 0-3 in his starts. Harrison is 7-4 with a 5.52 ERA in 16 starts at the Ballpark in Arlington. However, he is 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in two starts against the Tigers, with both outings coming last year.
Harrison strained his left oblique muscle during Spring Training.
"I'm back to being 100 percent again," Harrison said.
Tigers: Cabrera on a tear
Since joining the Tigers in 2008, Miguel Cabrera leads the American League with 75 home runs and 252 RBIs. He is batting .311 with 79 doubles. ... Johnny Damon leads the AL with a .419 batting average and a .554 on-base percentage since April 10. He extended his hit streak to 12 games with an RBI double in the first inning Sunday.
Rangers: Elvis in the building
Elvis Andrus has reached base safely in eight consecutive games and 14 of his last 15. The eight-game stretch matches Michael Young and Nelson Cruz for longest by a Rangers player in 2010. Andrus also leads the team with 14 walks.
Young has nine RBIs in his last seven games and is batting .375 during his last 10 contests to raise his average from .156 to .278. He is 10 hits from tying Rafael Palmeiro (1,692) for the second-most in Texas history.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.