The Detroit Tigers hope Justin Verlander’s latest outing will
give him the momentum he needs to get back on track away from
Looking to avoid losing three straight road starts for the first
time in more than four years, Verlander tries to help the Tigers to
a second straight victory over the AL West-leading Texas Rangers on
Though Verlander (12-7, 2.51 ERA) has pitched well after winning
the AL MVP and Cy Young Award in 2011, the right-hander has a 5.25
ERA while losing his last two road starts to fall to 6-5 with a
3.36 ERA away from Comerica Park. He has not dropped three straight
starts on the road since a five-game skid to open the 2008
Verlander, however, gave up two runs and matched a career high
with 14 strikeouts in eight innings of a 7-2 home win over New York
“(My last start) felt night-and-day different from my last
couple of starts,” Verlander told the Tigers’ official website. “I
really felt much more in sync from the get-go.”
That’s certainly something positive to build on in Arlington,
where he had a 1.29 ERA in his first three starts before giving up
three runs in four innings of a 3-2 loss in Game 1 of the 2011 AL
He’ll try to help the Tigers (61-52) take this three-game set
after winning 6-2 on Friday. Prince Fielder hit a three-run home
run and Austin Jackson added an inside-the-park homer as Detroit
rallied from an early two-run deficit to avoid a third straight
Fielder has batted .455 (15 for 33) with four homers and 12 RBIs
in nine August games after going 0 for 12 in the final four of
“When you have Prince in your lineup, you’re always one swing
away from getting the game back in your favor,” winning pitcher Max
Catcher Alex Avila is batting .457 during an 11-game hitting
streak. He’s 7 for 14 in his last four versus Texas (65-46), which
can use a good start from Derek Holland (7-6, 5.18) to help even
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 7.00 ERA in his last four starts
and has allowed six runs in three of those outings, including
Sunday in a 7-6, 10-inning loss at Kansas City.
“It’s pathetic,” Holland told the Rangers’ official website.
“I’m very upset with myself. I’m supposed to be stepping up and I
look like garbage out there.”
Holland also has struggled to keep the ball in the park at home,
giving up eight homers while going 1-2 with an 8.18 ERA in his last
four starts there.
He does not have a decision while posting a 6.35 ERA in three
starts – all at home – against the Tigers, including two in the
ALCS last season.
Texas’ Nelson Cruz had two hits Friday but left with lower back
stiffness. He is 8 for 14 in his last four games.
“I think he’ll be a player (Saturday), we’ve just got to wait
and see,” manager Ron Washington said.
Teammate Michael Young is batting .357 (15 for 42) during a
10-game hitting streak. Including playoffs, he is 8 for 33 (.242)
with 10 strikeouts against Verlander.