A power surge has the Detroit Tigers in position to sweep a
series in Arlington for the first time in 10 years. They’ll likely
need to get the best of undefeated Alexi Ogando to accomplish that
feat once again.
The Tigers try for the sweep with a fifth consecutive victory
overall Wednesday night against the Texas Rangers.
One night after banging out 18 hits in a 13-7 win over the AL
West-leading Rangers (34-28), Detroit recorded a season-high 20 in
Tuesday’s 8-1 victory.
“The tough part is they’ve been getting a lead early in the game
– a pretty significant lead,” Texas’ David Murphy said of the
The Tigers (33-27), who have scored 28 runs the last three
games, have won four in a row and eight of nine. They are 4-1
against the Rangers this season and a win away from their first
series sweep at Texas since May 1-3, 2001.
Texas has not been swept at home since Baltimore did so in a
four-game set July 8-11.
Standing in the way of a Tigers’ sweep is Ogando (6-0, 2.20
ERA), who allowed two hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win at Detroit
in his second career start April 11.
Ogando continued his stellar first season as a starter by
allowing one run and four hits in eight innings of an 11-2 win at
Cleveland on Friday. He has yielded two runs or fewer in nine of
his 11 starts while pitching at least six innings in each outing –
the longest such run in club history since Kenny Rogers went at
least six in his first 15 starts of 2001.
That type of success could be enough to earn him a spot on the
AL All-Star team, managed by his own skipper Ron Washington.
“To be there would be a dream,” Ogando said.
He will try to contain Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson,
who recorded his second straight three-hit game and added three
RBIs on Tuesday. Jackson has hit .440 (11 for 25) the last five
games to raise his average to 23 points to .247.
Teammate Victor Martinez also had three hits Tuesday, and is
batting .350 with five RBIs his last 10 games. However, he is 0 for
5 with two strikeouts versus Ogando.
Detroit is expected to activate Phil Coke (1-5, 3.81) from the
disabled list to start Wednesday’s finale.
Used almost exclusively out of the bullpen his first three
seasons, Coke is 1-4 with a 3.62 ERA in nine starts this year.
He’ll be making his first appearance since May 23 against Tampa Bay
when he left after 3 1-3 innings with a bone bruise in his right
Coke, who allowed three runs in 16 innings of his last three
starts, is itching to get back on a major league mound.
“I’m already drooling,” Coke told the Tigers’ official website.
“I’m really bad at being on the disabled list, because I get antsy
and irritable, because I want to be on the field very badly.”
Though the left-hander will make his first start versus Texas,
he is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in eight relief appearances against the
Murphy had three of Texas’ eight hits Tuesday. Josh Hamilton
went 0 for 4, and is batting .224 in 14 career home games versus