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Game 75 Preview: Tigers at Rangers

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ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 22: Roy Oswalt #44 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Rangers Ballpark during a interleague  game in Arlington on June 22, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 22: Roy Oswalt #44 of the Texas Rangers delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Rangers Ballpark during a interleague game in Arlington on June 22, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
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Detroit Tigers (36-38) at Texas Rangers (46-29)

Time/Place: 8:00 p.m., Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

SB Nation Blog: Lone Star Ball

Media: Fox Sports Detroit, ESPN, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Pitching Matchup: Doug Fister (1-4, 2.72 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (1-0, 1.35 ERA)

Oswalt is coming off his season debut in his last start, and he didn't miss a beat. He held the potent Colorado Rockies' offense to one run in 6 2/3 innings, earning his first win as a Ranger. He stranded 10 Rockies runners, but his command was in midseason form, issuing his only walk to Carlos Gonzalez. More impressive, in my opinion, is how he was able to change speeds effectively after almost 8 months off. In one at bat against Dexter Fowler, Oswalt's pitch speeds were as follows: 69, 80, 92, 92, 67. I expect that the Tigers will struggle with his offspeed pitches, especially if Oswalt gets ahead. Brennan Boesch will look exceptionally silly at some point tonight.

While two of the four runs that Fister allowed in his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates were unearned, he didn't seem to have the same polish that he did in his return start from the disabled list against the Colorado Rockies. This was largely irrelevant, however, as the offense yet again disappeared when he was on the mound. He didn't face the Rangers in their series at Comerica Park in April due to his first DL stint, but he did dominate them for 7 1/3 innings last postseason to win Game 3 of the ALCS. A repeat performance from Fister would be nice. Of course, so would more than two runs from the offense.

Outlook

Fun fact: Oswalt has never faced the Tigers. Knowing this, I think that the Tigers will treat Oswalt like any young pitcher that they are facing the first time... which is to say that they will probably flail around for 6-7 innings and maybe poke home a run or two. Combine this with the general lack of offense anytime Doug Fister is on the mound nowadays (seriously, when did we become the Seattle Mariners) and the fact that Texas is really, really good and I don't have a lot of optimism for tonight's contest. Yes, I am bitter that Yu Darvish shut us down again last night.

Prediction

It will be hot outside and MLB.TV will make me want to throw my laptop through a wall at some point.

Gameday Reading:

Roy Oswalt Dazzles In Rangers Debut - SB Nation Dallas, John Stathas
"After not having pitched in a Major League game since October of last year, Oswalt's performance was sharp as could be, earning him his first win of the season."

POWER RANKINGS Rankings - Lone Star Ball
More entertainment from LSB, along with a lighthearted jab at MLive's James Schmehl.

Rangers Bats Even Series Against Tigers - SB Nation Dallas, Robbie Griffin
"Mike Napoli was the only Ranger starter without a base hit."

Hot In Texas? Yu Darvish Gets Tigers To Fan A Bunch And Cool Things Off A Bit - Walkoff Woodward, Brian Packey
"Darvish’s final line consisted of four hits in seven innings (to three batters) and 10 strikeouts, all swinging."