07/19/10 8:19 PM ET
Rookies on display in Rangers-Tigers series
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
But a closer look at the rosters of those two clubs, who meet for the second game of their series at Comerica Park on Tuesday night, reveals that rookies are having a huge say in the teams' recent success.
For Texas, the visiting club that will start Tommy Hunter on Tuesday, the performance of first-year closer Neftali Feliz has silenced bats and wowed fans.
Feliz, who took over closing duties for Frank Francisco in the second week of the season and hasn't looked back, nailed down his 25th save on Monday, which ranks near the top of the American League.
Feliz's 25 saves are already 13 more than the previous rookie franchise record, and made him the sixth rookie over the last 10 seasons to reach 25 in a single season. He joined Oakland's Andrew Bailey (26 last year) as the only two rookies over the last four seasons to reach the 25-save threshold.
"I'm very happy with that right now," Feliz said recently. "I just want to continue to do the job and just save as many as I can."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the diamond, two rookie outfielders are helping power the Tigers, who will give the ball to right-hander Armando Galarraga on Tuesday night.
Austin Jackson is tops among all AL rookies with 54 runs scored and 101 hits, while ranking second with a .304 batting average. And teammate Brennan Boesch is tops among all league rookies with a .325 batting average, 12 homers and 50 RBIs, while ranking second to his buddy Jackson with 86 hits.
"I think he's the same guy he was when he got here," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Boesch. "They throw it [in the strike zone]. He swings. He hits it, he hits it hard. I don't want to change anything."
Rangers: Hunter on cruise control
Hunter is the first Texas starter to begin a season 6-0 since Esteban Loaiza in 1999. He has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in seven of his eight outings, registering quality starts in seven of those (the lone exception was an injury-shortened start June 14 at Florida). He's 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA on the road and beat the Tigers with seven innings of one-run, five-hit ball last July 27 in Arlington -- the only time he's faced Detroit. He started opposite Galarraga in that game, too. ... Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler has a 12-game hit streak, tied with Toronto's Adam Lind for the longest active such streak in the AL.
Tigers: Galarraga back and ready
The Tigers optioned Galarraga to Triple-A Toledo 1 1/2 weeks ago with the intent of getting him some pitching time before rejoining the rotation. Galarraga pitched three scoreless innings of relief on Friday at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He has made six starts since almost pitching a perfect game on June 3, and his last outing, which came on July 6, was a quality start. ... Tigers catcher Alex Avila enters Tuesday's game vs. Texas having thrown out 37.5 percent of baserunners attempting to steal (12-for-32) this season, tops among all AL catchers.
Rangers reliever Darren O'Day extended his scoreless-innings streak to 18 innings on Monday, the longest for Texas this season. ... Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge started Monday's game, which gave him 842 games played at third base during his Tigers career, tying Mike Higgins for fourth place in franchise history. But a broken bone in his hand suffered in the game will keep him tied with Higgins for four to six weeks, the estimated length of time he'll be out.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.