CBSSPORTS.COM – Yu Darvish has two wins against the Detroit Tigers this year. Recording a third may be not be easy given how poorly he’s been pitching lately.
Darvish will try to end a prolonged slump Sunday when he takes the mound for the Texas Rangers against the visiting Tigers.
Texas and Detroit have split their first two meetings this weekend, with the Rangers winning 2-1 on Saturday following a walk-off RBI single from pinch-hitter Mike Olt.
The Rangers (66-46) improved to 7-3 this month and maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Oakland in the AL West. Friday was the first of 20 games in 20 days for the club, a stretch that could prove pivotal to the division race.
“We are playing well,” said Michael Young, whose 11-game hitting streak against the Tigers – including last postseason – ended Saturday after he went 0 for 3. “Hopefully this will give us momentum. We’re in a stretch where we’re playing some good teams.”
Texas, which also scored twice in Friday’s loss, may need to put up more offense Sunday to support the struggling Darvish (11-8, 4.57 ERA).
The Japanese right-hander is 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA in his last five outings. He allowed six runs and a career-high 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-2 defeat against Boston on Monday.
“It’s a long season. It’s 162 games. He’ll get the ball 10 or 11 more times and we’ll just keep working as I said and see where it goes from there,” manager Ron Washington said. “But worry? No, I’m not worried. When adversity hits, you got to step up and we feel like he’ll step up.”
Darvish has stepped up twice this season against Detroit, allowing five runs over 13 1-3 innings while striking out 15.
Prince Fielder is 2 for 5 with a double and a home run against Darvish, but Miguel Cabrera is 0 for 5. The two Detroit sluggers were held hitless Saturday in a rare punchless night for the offense.
The Tigers (61-53), who have lost three of four, were held to fewer than six runs for only the second time in 10 games this month.
Austin Jackson, who hit an inside-the-park home run Friday, led off Saturday’s game with his 13th homer of the season, but that was all the offense Detroit could muster for Justin Verlander.
The Tigers have put up plenty of runs for Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.62), who looks to win his third straight start Sunday.
Porcello allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-5 win over New York on Tuesday. Detroit has won seven of his last eight starts although he’s posted a 5.30 ERA over the last six. The Tigers have averaged 6.1 runs of support in those six outings.
The right-hander has faced Texas twice this year. He failed to make it through the second inning in the first meeting, giving up nine runs and 10 hits, but held the Rangers to one run in six innings of an 8-2 win June 25.
Including postseason, David Murphy is 8 for 12 against Porcello, Ian Kinsler is 7 for 12 and Young is 7 for 15.
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