Tigers, Rangers rained out

Jim Leyland is as impressed with the Texas Rangers as he was

during last year’s playoffs.

”They’re such a tremendously solid team in all areas – starting

pitching, defense, bullpen, offense,” the Detroit manager said

Friday. ”They’re a very good team, top to bottom. They have a lot

of nice weapons, they have a lot of versatility. They’re very good

– and we are, too.”

Friday night was supposed to be the second game of a four-game

set between the Rangers and Tigers at Comerica Park, but it was

called after a 25-minute rain delay before a single pitch was

thrown. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader Saturday.

Rick Porcello (1-0) of Detroit will face Matt Harrison (2-0) of

Texas in the day game. That was supposed to be the matchup Friday.

On Saturday night, Detroit ace Justin Verlander (1-1) takes the

mound against Neftali Feliz (1-0).

The Rangers beat Detroit 10-3 on Thursday night in the first

meeting between the teams since Texas beat the Tigers in six games

in last year’s AL championship series.

The Tigers (9-4) acquired Prince Fielder in the offseason,

hoping to build on that ALCS appearance. Verlander will take the

mound Saturday night, five days after throwing 131 pitches in a

complete game victory at Kansas City.

Feliz will try to outpitch Verlander. The Texas right-hander

saved 72 games over the last two seasons, and he’s been sharp so

far after moving to the rotation.

Feliz has a 2.25 ERA after two starts this year.

”He’s obviously not coming out there full barrel anymore, like

you do when you’re coming in to close the game out. Starting the

game, you’ve got to pace yourself,” Leyland said. ”But he’s

obviously got tremendous stuff.”

Texas slugger Mike Napoli has five homers, nine hits, seven runs

and 10 RBIs in his last four games. He couldn’t do any more damage

Friday night because of the rainout.

”It’s something you can’t control,” Napoli said. ”We’ll go do

the split doubleheader tomorrow and start with game one and go from

there.”

Friday’s rainout means Texas reliever Scott Feldman will likely

make a spot start Wednesday at home against the New York Yankees.

Feldman has thrown only 2 1-3 innings this season. He pitched 1 1-3

innings Thursday night.

”I was able to see some hitters up there, so that’s always nice

to get into some games,” Feldman said. ”I’d rather be pitching

more, but I’m just getting my work in when I can.”

Texas has won seven straight games and is off to a major

league-best 11-2 start. Napoli has homered in four straight games,

and he isn’t the only Ranger on a tear lately. Josh Hamilton is

hitting .426 with five homers, and the starting rotation is

9-0.

The Rangers stole four bases Thursday, although they also ran

into a couple outs early in the game. Craig Gentry stole second and

tried to reach third when a throw bounded into left field. He was

thrown out.

”That’s the way we play – he just misjudged what he saw,”

manager Ron Washington said. ”I’m not going to blame him for

misjudging what he saw because I don’t want him to get

tentative.”

NOTES: The Tigers on Friday acquired RHP Zach Miner from the

Kansas City Royals for cash. He’s joining Double-A Erie. Miner, who

turned 30 last month, appeared in 157 games for the Tigers from

2006-09, including 35 starts. He had surgery on his right elbow in

May 2010 and signed a minor league deal with the Royals before last

season. Now he’s back in the Detroit organization. ”His

versatility I thought was his biggest asset,” Leyland said. ”He

could go short, he could go long, he could start.” … Texas 2B

Ian Kinsler was set to be the designated hitter Friday, with

Michael Young playing 2B. Washington says he doesn’t want Young to

become ”too stale just DHing.”