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Game 115 Preview: Tigers at Rangers

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BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 06:  Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game on August 6, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 06: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game on August 6, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Detroit Tigers (61-53) at Texas Rangers (66-46)

Time/Place: 3:00 p.m., Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

SB Nation Blog: Lone Star Ball

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

Pitching Matchup: RHP Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.62 ERA) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (11-8, 4.57 ERA)

It's still early (in a sense), but the concerns about Darvish wearing down over the course of the MLB season may be legitimate. His ERA since the All-Star Break is 7.76 and he has walked 21 batters in just 31 1/3 innings. He is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA against the Tigers this season, and has worked into the 7th inning both times he faced Detroit. Knocking Darvish out early will be easier said than done; as much as he has struggled since the break, he is still averaging over 6 innings per start.

If Porcello's last start -- 6+ solid innings against a premier offense -- is a predictor of things to come, the Tigers will be in good shape. He was charged with three earned runs, but his ability to avoid the big inning and keep the New York Yankees at an arm's length away was more impressive than the stat line itself. It will be interesting to see if he can repeat this performance if the Tigers give him an early lead against the struggling Darvish.

Outlook

With a win today, the Tigers would walk away from a 7-game stretch against the best two teams in the American League with a 4-3 record. Prior to these games, I would have taken that in a heartbeat. With Darvish struggling as much as he has been at home recently -- his last win at home was against these same Tigers -- it would be nice to see the offense continue that trend and give Porcello a big lead to work with.

Prediction

Texas out-slugs Detroit in a game that both starting pitchers would like to forget.

Gameday Reading:

Tigers, Rangers Play In Texas, Tigers Bullpen Pitches, Tigers Thus Lose - Walkoff Woodward, Josh Worn
Doc is clearly in hysterics this morning.

Mike Adams rescues bullpen in the ninth - ESPN Dallas, Richard Durrett
Ron Washington explains his bullpen decisions from last night's game.

Ron Washington, Yu Darvish meet: "His state of mind is great" - The Dallas Morning News, Evan Grant
"Darvish has struggled badly since the All-Star break. In five starts, he is 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA and only one start has qualified as a quality start."