07/18/10 6:25 PM ET
Tigers in need of a rebound against Rangers
By Bailey Stephens / MLB.com
After getting swept in a four-game set at Cleveland over the weekend, Detroit will need a steadying effort as it begins a three-game set with the Rangers on Monday.
The Tigers' road woes have grown into a full-sized problem, as they have lost 10 of their past 13 road games.
"We're a better team than we've showed," left fielder Brennan Boesch said. "I don't know what it is with us lately. I can't put my finger on it."
But with their road struggles on the back burner with the return to Comerica Park, the Tigers hope to rebound against a tough Rangers team. Job one for Detroit will be awakening its bats, which struggled throughout the series in Cleveland.
"We're fine," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird said. "It's disappointing, but we have to bring our 'A' game everywhere. We're right there at the top of our division with a couple other teams. We have to be prepared to play anybody, whether it's a first-place team or a last-place team. We're only a couple games out, so we need to catch our stride and get our groove back."
The Tigers will have to get it done at the plate against Texas hurler Scott Feldman. The right-hander endured some struggles in the first half of the season, going 5-8 before the All-Star break. But he did end things on a strong note, allowing just two earned runs in seven innings against the Orioles his previous time out. His manager, Ron Washington, had praise after an outing which saw Feldman avoid any free passes.
"He was great, he really was," Washington said. "He had his sinker working, he used his off-speed pitches very well. ... Kept them off balance ... too bad we just couldn't hold on to the game for him."
Feldman will be trying to replicate those results on Monday, en route to a more consistent second half. Even with Cliff Lee, the Rangers will need Feldman to string together some solid outings to keep them at the head of the pack in the American League West down the stretch.
Rangers: Davis learning on the job
Young first baseman Chris Davis has been a platoon candidate so far during his most recent ascent to the Rangers, but Washington wants to keep him in the lineup against some left-handers, as he chose to do on Sunday against Jon Lester. Texas is reportedly seeking a right-handed first baseman that could platoon with the left-handed hitting Davis, but for now, his manager is open to keeping him in the lineup in some of these situations because of his work with the glove. "Chris going to have to figure it out," Washington said. "I want his defense in there. I don't think too many people in this league have put much offense up against Lester, so I want [Davis'] defense."
Leading the Tigers' turnaround attempt Monday will be Jeremy Bonderman, who like Feldman has had an up and down year. Bonderman did pick up a win in his final start of the first half against the Twins, picking up a quality start along the way. He was pleased with his success, which came mostly with his ability to keep his fastball down and in and use his offspeed pitches to his advantage.
"I was just trying to pitch in more and throw my breaking ball at different speeds," Bonderman said. "It's not the breaking ball it used to be. I'm trying to use it and make sure I locate it, and try to throw some harder and some slower and keep it out of the middle of the plate."
Texas has actually been playing a strong brand of baseball on the road, winning 14 of its past 19 away from home. ... The Rangers have lost 11 straight games in Detroit dating back to Sept. 2007, a club record for consecutive road losses to a particular team. ... Tigers hurler Armando Galarraga is expected to be recalled in time for Tuesday's start.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.