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Series Preview: Detroit Tigers @ Texas Rangers - Ennui

Ian Kinsler makes his possibly-not-so-triumphant return to Arlington as the Tigers take on the Rangers in a mid-week three game series

It's weird how much this doesn't look weird
It's weird how much this doesn't look weird
Leon Halip

Series Schedule:

Tuesday, June 24 7:05: LHP Drew Smyly vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Wednesday, June 25 7:05: RHP Anibal Sanchez vs. RHP Nick Tepesch

Thursday, June 26 7:05: RHP Rick Porcello vs. RHP Nick Martinez

The Rangers aren't very good. The Tigers are only sort of OK until October rolls around. Should make for an exciting set of late-June American League baseball.

The real news, of course, is the return of Ian Kinsler to Arlington. Kinsler was a big part of the best years of Texas Rangers baseball but then he went half-Hamilton in an ESPN The Magazine interview after being traded to Detroit over the winter. In the interview he expressed a desire to see the Rangers would go 0-162 this season and basically said he felt betrayed by GM Jon Daniels. Well, the joke is on Kinsler because 35 times this year the Rangers have ruined his 0-162 dreams. Suck it, Ian!!

Of course, if Kinsler truly still has ill will towards the Rangers, he's probably pretty happy with how things have turned out. The Tigers are in first place -- albeit, in classic lackadaisical regular season Tiger fashion -- and the Rangers are a few games away from worrying if they'll even manage to keep the Silver Boot in Arlington.

It'll be interesting to hear the crowd's reaction to Kinsler's return. They gave Mike Napoli a hero's welcome when he came back with Boston. They booed Josh Hamilton out of The Ballpark in a scene that rivaled only seeing Monopoly money raining down from the upper decks at Safeco when A-Rod returned to Seattle with the Rangers in 2001. The home team had an especially warm reception for David Murphy when Cleveland came to Arlington a few weeks ago. Nelson Cruz came back to cheers and maybe a smattering of boos that very well could have been "Cruuuuuz"s.

Kinsler, however, was always sort of an antagonist who fans either loved or hated around here. The fact that he spoke bitterly about the team after departing likely didn't sway any fans to his side. I wouldn't be surprised to hear more boos than cheers, and I think, ultimately, that would be a shame.

Even though Kinsler seemed grumpy with the media at times, and has voiced opposition to being forced into a policing leader presence in the clubhouse, he was always 100% about kicking ass when he had TEXAS across his chest first and foremost and I don't think there was ever a second motivation to consider for him. He just wanted to beat the other guys.

I think that should be applauded even though he wears the wrong colors now.


Now the Rangers are the other guys.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against perpetually underachieving regular season Tigers:

  • Colby Lewis: 5-4, 7.25 K/9, 3.69 BB/9, .395 BABIP, 70.4% LOB, 4.34 FIP, 4.83 xFIP, 0.8 WAR - Two starts in 2014: 13 runs allowed in 15.1 innings
  • Drew Smyly: 3-6, 7.62 K/9, 3.07 BB/9, .283 BABIP, 82.2% LOB, 4.35 FIP, 4.07 xFIP, 0.6 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 19.0 innings

Thoughts: One of Colby's best starts since his return from Frankenstein's hip resurfacing came back on May 25 against these Tigers in Detroit. Colby went 5 2/3 innings of two run ball against a very good Tiger lineup. If Colby can replicate that outing, we'd be happy.

Hey Drew, how about some vowels there, champ? What do you say? Smiley good with you?

  • Nick Tepesch: 2-3, 5.84 K/9, 3.65 BB/9, .299 BABIP, 75.5% LOB, 4.85 FIP, 4.73 xFIP, 0.3 WAR - Two starts in 2014: 8 runs allowed in 16.2 innings
  • Anibal Sanchez: 4-2, 7.62 K/9, 2.58 BB/9, .232 BABIP, 67.6% LOB, 2.44 FIP, 3.50 xFIP, 2.2 WAR - Last three appearances: 6 runs allowed in 19.1 innings

Thoughts: You know it's a bad season when the games start to blend together in your mind and you can't distinguish the last Nick Tepesch start from any of the other four-runs-in-five-innings performances that the Ranger starters have been so keen on the last few weeks.

When the Rangers lost Prince Fielder for the season back in May, they traveled Detroit and beat up on the Tigers while taking three of four games. It gave us hope that maybe the Rangers would rally around all their injuries and stay competitive throughout the summer. As we know now, it was just random wacky baseball variance. The only Tiger starter to hold the Rangers down in that 35-run series outburst was Anibal Sanchez.

  • Nick Martinez: 1-4, 4.22 K/9, 3.77 BB/9, .299 BABIP, 76.2% LOB, 5.37 FIP, 5.50 xFIP, 0.1 WAR - Last three starts: 12 runs allowed in 15.0 innings
  • Rick Porcello: 9-4, 5.68 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, .291 BABIP, 73.2% LOB, 3.89 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 1.3 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 18.0 innings

Thoughts: Did you know that Rick Porcello's first name is actually Frederick? His middle name is Alfred. Someone is trying really hard to deny that he's a Fred.

The Ranger starter on Thursday is actually official listed as TBD. I figure it's between Nick Martinez and Joe Saunders so I listed Martinez because I don't want to think about Joe Saunders at all ever.


Detroit Tigers (40-32, 1st Place in AL Central)

Rangers' Record vs. Detroit: 3-1 (All at Comerica Park)

Detroit's Recent Results: 3-0 road series sweep of the Cleveland Indians

Detroit's Road Record: 21-13

The Ballpark Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 111/92 - Runs: 112/105

SB Nation Tigers Blog: Bless You Boys

Match-up: (as of 06/24) Rangers Tigers Advantage
Batting (RAR) -24.9 (19th) 26.5 (4th) No team is going to out 1st inning sac bunt us!
Base Running (RAR) 1.7 (9th) -2.9 (24th) Nobody almost steals second base like Alex Rios
Starters (RAR) 10.5 36.8 It's almost like the Ranger rotation is bad
Bullpen (RAR)

26.9 (4th)

5.2 (21st) Poor Joe :(
Defense (UZR) -10.8 (21st) -19.6 (26th) When you stop caring, the first thing to go is the defense
Overall (UZR + RAR) 3.4 46.0

"3.4" The Nolan curse continues

Questions to Answer:

  • Would you boo Ian Kinsler?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Roogie's gonna say, "Kinsler who?")
  • Over/Under: 5.5 IKPUs over the course of this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Colby Lewis tonight as he tries to collect his first quality start of the season?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers manage to avoid getting swept by the Tigers this week?