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Series Preview: Tigers travel to Texas for 4-game set vs. Rangers

Detroit hits the road this week after dropping two of three to the division-leading Twins last weekend.

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Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers dropped two of three to the American League Central division-leading Minnesota Twins in Motown last weekend, lowering the Motor City Kitties to 10 games under .500 and 5.5 games away from the top perch. It was a grand opportunity for AJ Hinch’s squad to make up some ground, but alas, the Twinkies proved to be a bit too much.

Next up on the itinerary are the Texas Rangers, who host the Tigers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, for a four-game series this week starting on Monday. The Lone Star State squad currently holds a commanding 5.5-game lead over the second-place Houston Astros in the American League West division and will be looking to pad that lead with the Olde English D in town.

Unfortunately, there is a bit of uncertainty when it comes to the pitching matchups this coming week, as the Tigers have a pair of “to be decided” while the Rangers also have a TBD to their name as well. Take a look below at what we do know about the upcoming series.

Detroit Tigers (33-43) at Texas Rangers (47-30)

Times (EDT): Monday: 8:05 p.m.; Tuesday: 8:05 p.m.; Wednesday: 8:05 p.m.; Thursday: 2:05 p.m.
Place: Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas
SB Nation Site: Lone Star Ball
Media: Bally Sports Detroit, MLB.TV, Tigers Radio Network

Game 77 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Boyd 70.1 23.7 8.3 4.25 0.8
Heaney 72.1 24.6 10.0 4.90 0.4

Game 77: LHP Matthew Boyd (5-5, 5.37 ERA) vs. LHP Andrew Heaney (5-4, 3.98 ERA)

The last time Boyd saw the Rangers was back on May 29, when he took the loss after throwing six frames of five-run ball on five hits (one home run) and four walks while striking out five. Since then, the 32-year-old has won two and lost one, putting up a 4.91 ERA and a 3.00 FIP, allowing 12 runs on 22 hits (three home runs) and only three walks while striking out an eye-popping 27 batters. The veteran southpaw is without a doubt a known quality and quantity, but at least he is getting the job done.

Heaney, on the other hand, missed the Tigers on Texas’ trip to Detroit at the end of last month but has otherwise been perfectly mediocre in his tenth major league campaign. The right-hander has struggled to get deep into games since his season-best performance against the Baltimore Orioles, in which he held his opponent to one run over seven innings on four hits (including a solo home run) and a walk while striking out three. In the four games following the 32-year-old failed to make it to the sixth, putting up a 4.67 ERA and 5.17 FIP in just 17 13 innings.

Game 78 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
TBD - - - - -
Pérez 84.1 15.3 7.6 4.98 0.3

Game 78: TBD vs. LHP Martín Pérez (7-3, 4.38 ERA)

Pérez did not fare so well against Detroit in his previous appearance against the Tigers in 2023, getting tagged for six runs on seven hits (two home runs) and four walks whiles striking out three in 4 23 innings pitched. Three of the four games the 32-year-old has started since were of the quality variety, with an absolute stinker wedged into the middle. The southpaw is likely due for another bomb and the Tigers will be happy to oblige.

Game 79 Pitching Matchup

Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Player IP K% BB% FIP fWAR
Wentz 67.0 20.1 9.6 5.46 -0.2
Dunning 71.2 14.0 7.2 3.94 0.9

Game 79: LHP Joey Wentz (1-8, 6.72 ERA) vs. RHP Dane Dunning (6-1, 2.76 ERA)

Wentz continues his struggles this season, but the good news is that there are some signs — if you squint hard enough — that the 25-year-old is starting the turn the corner. The good news is that one of his best starts came against Texas earlier in the spring, holding the Rangers to just a single run on seven hits and a walk while striking out five. The bad news is that he only lasted 4 13 frames that day which allowed the bullpen to blow his tidy outing and ultimately lose the game. The lefty hit the six and five-inning marks, respectively, his last two times out, so hopefully he can stretch a similar performance out to help save the bullpen.

Dunning opened the year in the bullpen but has become a very valuable member of the starting rotation since the start of May. As a starter, the 28-year-old has a 3.16 ERA and a 4.22 FIP over 51 13 innings pitched, allowing 51 hits (four home runs) and 16 walks while striking out 30 over that stretch. The last time the right-hander saw the Tigers, he held them to three runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings in the winning effort that day.

Game 80: TBD vs. TBD

Neither pitcher was announced as of the time of publication.

Series Outlook: A rough road ahead

The Tigers did not get off the best start at home ahead of their seven-game road trip last weekend against the Twins and it is just going to get harder on the road against a team that took two of three from them in Comerica Park last month. The good news is the struggling Colorado Rockies follow the Rangers, bridging the month of June and July, offering an opportunity to bounce back if things go badly this week. But of course, first things first.