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Game 37: Rangers at Tigers

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Brandon McCarthy (3-1, 5.92) vs. Dontrelle Willis (0-0, 7.71), 7:05 p.m. EST

It's a battle of first-place teams tonight at Comerica Park, with the hottest team in baseball coming into Detroit. The Texas Rangers have won seven in a row, a surge that has given them a four-game lead in the AL West. (Only the Dodgers, with a 6.5 game lead, are further ahead in their division than the Rangers.)

Dontrelle Willis gets his first home start of the season, after returning to the majors last Wednesday in Minnesota. The D-Train wasn't terribly impressive, allowing four runs and eight hits in 4.2 innings. But he arguably pitched well enough to win, and perhaps most notable, he only walked two batters while throwing 60% of his pitches for strikes. With Armando Galarraga struggling, a good performance tonight could help Willis keep a spot in the starting rotation.

Brandon McCarthy is winless in his last two outings, giving up 11 runs in 11 innings. And in three road starts this season, he has an 8.40 ERA. Something else that could work in the Tigers' favor tonight is how McCarthy pitches versus left-handed hitting. Lefties are batting .315/.400/.630 against him in 85 plate appearances. McCarthy's also been pretty generous with the home run ball, serving up 10 of them. Seven of those, however, have been in Arlington.

As first reported earlier today by Tiger Tales, outfielder Wilkin Ramirez has been called up from Triple-A to fill in while Magglio Ordonez is on leave for a family medical emergency. But he's not in the lineup tonight. Here are your starters:


Lineup

Texas Rangers @ Detroit Tigers

05/19/09 7:05 PM EDT

Texas Rangers Detroit Tigers
Ian Kinsler - 2B Curtis Granderson - CF
Elvis Andrus - SS Placido Polanco - 2B
Michael Young - 3B Clete Thomas - RF
Andruw Jones - DH Miguel Cabrera - 1B
Marlon Byrd - CF Jeff Larish - DH
David Murphy - LF Brandon Inge - 3B
Nelson Cruz - RF Josh Anderson - LF
Chris Davis - 1B Gerald Laird - C
Jarrod Saltalamacchia - C Ramon Santiago - SS

[Updated at 6:15 p.m. EST]

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