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Game 149: Tigers (70-78) at Rangers (73-77)

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Dontrelle Willis (0-1, 10.32) vs. Brandon McCarthy (1-1, 4.22)

After a crazy weekend of "will they or won't they play" rainouts in Chicago, the schedule hopefully settles back into normalcy tonight in Texas. Also hoping to settle back into something resembling a major league pitcher is Dontrelle Willis, who makes his first start for the Detroit Tigers since early June.

On his ESPN.com blog today, Rob Neyer detailed the plunge Willis' career has taken, from never having pitched in Triple-A when he was in the Marlins' organization to finding himself in Single-A with the Lakeland Flying Tigers in sudden need of resuscitating his career. Detroit desperately needs to find out if Willis is capable of living up to the $29 million contract he was given during the Spring, a deal that currently looks like one of the most bone-headed decisions Dave Dombrowski has ever made.

An encouraging start (along with one more in Kansas City) would have to make the Tigers (and Tigers fans) feel better about next season's starting rotation. But Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is an imposing place to rediscover your pitching touch.

One night after facing John Danks, Detroit now matches up against the pitcher the White Sox traded to Texas for him before the 2007 season. It's one of those coincidences that makes the Tim Kurkjians of the world scrunch up their shoulders, shiver, and smile. That's just the beauty of baseball; you never know what might happen.

After missing most of the season with forearm and elbow inflammation, Brandon McCarthy has started four games for the Rangers. And he pitched two quality starts before getting bombed by the Red Sox in his last outing. McCarthy gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

With a loss or a White Sox win tonight, by the way, the Tigers would be officially eliminated from the AL Central race.

Lone Star Ball has your SB Nation opposing view for this three-game series.