The Detroit Tigers are still a team trying to find themselves as younger players define their roles. This mid-may series against the red-hot Texas Rangers should go a long way to seeing just how deep the Tigers bench is. With Victor Martinez off on maternity leave, and Miguel Cabrera nursing a strained oblique, the line-up will need some back-up power off the bench.
The Lead Story
The Texas Rangers came into Comerica Park riding a nine-game win streak. Last night they made it ten, making them one of the hottest teams in the big leagues. Will the Tigers have enough bats to snap that streak with two of their big name offensive weapons sidelined for much of the series?
Although Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are off slow starts, J.D. Martinez has done his best to make up for that missing production all on his own. With five home runs in just 21 at-bats since his season debut, some of which have been in the clutch, Martinez’ bat is attracting national attention. With V-Mart fulfilling his fatherly duties this weekend, J.D. Martinez will finally have a chance to bat 4th.
Will solid production from J.D. Martinez this weekend be enough to convince the Tigers brain trust to let him clean-up? Or will Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus continue to extend veteran courtesy to Victor Martinez after he returns?
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Pitching Match-up To Watch
Boyd was knocked around in his last outing, allowing seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Orioles. Prior to that the lefty has had a strong start to the season posting a record of 2-2. In this series Boyd gets to match-up against the Rangers’ ace, who is a big reason for their early season success. It will be interesting to see how Boyd reacts to this high pressure start. Not only because he is up against Darvish but because the series could be on the line when he takes the mound Sunday evening.
Justin Verlander is still the ace of the pitching staff. But the early career success of Michael Fulmer combined with inconsistency has cast a bit of a shadow over the former Cy Young winner and MVP. Verlander draws the Saturday night match-up against a very beatable pitcher in A.J. Griffin. J.V. has failed to make it through the seventh innings this season even though he is regularly over 110 pitches when he exits a game. The workhorse stopper we know as Justin Verlander has yet to make an appearance this season. Can Verlander get back on track or will he join the growing number of Tiger veterans who are slowly riding off into the twilight of their careers?