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Rangers-Tigers Preview 2009-04-10

Rangers-Tigers Preview 2009-04-10
Miguel Cabrera's slow start in 2008 played a role in the Detroit Tigers' disappointing season. They are hoping his hot start to this year leads to better results in 2009.

After routing Texas in the opener, Cabrera and the Tigers continue their three-game series with the Rangers on Saturday.

Detroit (2-3) signed Cabrera to a $152.3 million, eight-year deal in March 2008 as part of a high-spending offseason that it hoped would result in a return to the playoffs. Cabrera drew the ire of Tigers fans though after struggling the first weeks of the season, going 2-for-20 (.100) in his first six games - all losses.

Detroit finished last in the AL Central with 88 losses despite Cabrera leading the AL with 37 home runs and finishing third with 127 RBIs.

Unlike in 2008, Cabrera has gotten off to a quick start this season, batting .611 (11-for-18) with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs. He drove in six runs in Detroit's 15-2 win over the Rangers (3-1) on Friday, hitting a grand slam in the fourth inning then adding a two-run double in the seventh to match a career high for RBIs.

"I feel more comfortable," Cabrera said. "Last year, I had a lot of adjustments to make with a new league and new pitchers. Now, I know what I'm doing."

The first baseman wasn't the only one to have a big game Friday. Eight players drove in a run and six had a multi-hit game. Rangers pitcher Kris Benson, making his first start since 2006 with Baltimore, allowed seven runs in five innings.

"Ouch," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't stop them offensively and we couldn't get anything going offensively. It was one of those days."

Texas entered this series off to its best start since 1996. The Rangers had averaged 9.7 runs in a sweep of Cleveland and had more than 10 hits in two of those contests. They managed six hits on Friday, including two by Nelson Cruz, who homered in the ninth.

The Rangers hope to bounce back when they face Justin Verlander (0-1, 19.64 ERA), who struggled in his first start of the season after a dismal 2008.

Verlander, who lost a career-high 17 games last season, lasted only 3 2-3 innings Monday against Toronto, allowing eight runs and eight hits in a 12-5 loss.

"I'm always somebody who's going to try to take away positives," Verlander said. "I know tonight that I had good stuff and made pitches that I wanted for the most part. Just, some things got compounded and it ended up not looking very good."

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers. He beat them last season at home, yielding one run and six hits over six innings of a 10-2 victory.

Matt Harrison (9-3, 5.49) make his season debut for Texas.

Harrison set a record for wins by a Rangers rookie left-hander last season after being called up from the minors in July. He was 4-1 with a 4.70 ERA in five road starts.

This will be the 23-year-old's first appearance against the Tigers.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 11, 2009

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