On Deck: Detroit Tigers


On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2016 season. 

The Opponent: The Tigers are playing good baseball right now behind a red-hot former Ranger and the best starter in the American League at the moment (no, it's not Justin Verlander).

Past Meetings: The Rangers went 5-2 against the Tigers last year, including winning three of four in Detroit, a spot the Rangers have traditionally struggled.

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Pitching Matchups: Friday — Cole Hamels (3-0, 3.30 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (5-0, 0.55); Saturday — A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.32) vs. Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 5.68); Sunday — Martin Perez (1-2, 3.60) vs. Justin Verlander (2-3, 6.49)

What's Hot: Rougned Odor is hitting .355 with four doubles and a homer in his last seven games — most of them hitting from the leadoff spot. Rookie Nomar Mazara had a pair of singles Thursday to push his streak to seven games, in which he's hitting .310 with a homer. A.J. Griffin is cruising through the first month of the season and has secured himself a spot in the Rangers' rotation for the foreseeable future.

Nick Castellanos is on a tear for the Tigers, as he's batting a ridiculous .545 over his last six games with three homers and 11 RBIs in that time. The ageless Victor Martinez is batting .480 with a homer in that same span. Also, Justin Upton is batting .440 with a homer and three RBIs of his own. Jordan Zimmerman is just on fire on the mound, as his numbers plainly state.

What's Not: Jake Diekman hasn't pitched in the past two days, and that's a good thing as he's struggled to a 20.25 ERA in his last two appearances. Elvis Andrus is batting .136 in his last six games but did get the night off on Thursday and should be recharged heading into Detroit.

Ian Kinsler is batting just .120 over the last week, and in the meantime he's seen his average dip below .300. But he's still off to a big start in 2016 and will be amped to play his old teammates. Justin Verlander gave up seven runs in five innings of work last time out to celebrate his engagement to Kate Upton.

Familiar Faces: Ian Kinsler spent eight seasons in Texas as a cornerstone piece of the Rangers' franchise before being surprisingly traded to Detroit prior to the 2014 season for Prince Fielder. Rangers catcher Bryan Holaday came up with the Tigers and was traded in the spring for Bobby Wilson. Then, this past week, the Rangers re-acquired Wilson.

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