video thumbnail

MIN@DET: Verlander holds Twins to two runs over seven

Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, who has uncharacteristically allowed five runs in each of his past two starts, will face Texas' Colby Lewis in the finale of a four-game series at Comerica Park on Sunday at 1:08 p.m. ET. The Rangers, having won the first and third games of the series, have their sights set on taking three of four.

Verlander has been working on an adjustment to his delivery that he expects will allow him to hide the ball for longer before throwing it. He lacked command of his fastball in his last start, at Cleveland on Tuesday, when he lost for the second time in three starts. He's 5-3 with a 3.55 ERA this season.

"I think I've been flying pretty bad the first bit of the season, and that leads to a lot of things -- the ball's a little flat, everything's a little up, hitters see the ball earlier," Verlander said after that start. "It's something that I need to do to be where I want to be."

Lewis threw six innings for the first time this season his last time out, against Seattle, though he was still tagged with the loss. Lewis will be making his eighth start of the season after missing 21 months because of right elbow surgery in 2012 and right hip surgery last season.

"I feel good," Lewis said. "I've felt really good between starts. The way I felt last year and the way I've felt now between starts, being able to go out and pitch, it's a blessing."

Feeling healthy hasn't translated to success yet for Lewis; opponents are hitting .351 against him.

Lewis seems up for the challenge of facing Verlander, though.

"If the other guy throws up zeros, I have to put up zeros," Lewis said. "I have to put us in position to win. If he gives up six, I have to put up less. If he gives up one, I can't give up any. That's the way it goes. I've got to try and match the other guy."

Rangers: Washington wants Rios to run wisely
Alex Rios has eight stolen bases this year but has also been caught stealing six times -- most in the American League. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Rios needs to be smarter because four of the six have come on either the first or second pitch of a plate appearance, including two on pitchouts. The other two came on the third pitch.

Washington said that Rios needs to change his pattern and possibly start waiting longer in counts. But he still expects Rios to run.

"He is one of the guys in my lineup that can run and create something," Washington said. "We don't have guys who can hit three-run home runs, so we have to continue to force the issue."

Tigers: Kinsler, Cabrera on rare doubles pace
Dealt by Texas in the offseason, Ian Kinsler joined the Tigers looking to slash the vast outfield gaps of Comerica Park for doubles. He's doing that at an incredible pace. So, too, is Miguel Cabrera, who simply came into the season looking to repeat the hitting that made him a three-time batting champ.

Not since Charlie Gehringer and Gee Walker in 1936 has a Tigers team featured two players with 50 or more doubles in a season. No team in the Majors has done it since 2000, when Todd Helton and Jeff Cirillo topped 50 apiece for the Rockies. Both Kinsler and Cabrera entered Saturday on pace for 60-double seasons.

Considering that no Major League hitter has hit 60 doubles in a season since Gehringer and Joe Medwick in 1936, that pace seems unlikely to hold. Fifty, however, would be more realistic.

Worth noting
• Rangers outfielder Daniel Robertson remains day to day with discomfort in his left cheek. He still has a black eye but could be an option for Texas on Sunday, especially with left fielder Shin-Soo Choo also day to day due to left ankle soreness.

• Lewis has thrown more than 100 pitches in each of his last two starts.

• Saturday was Tigers shortstop Andrew Romine's first multihit game since May 4. He broke a 2-for-35 slump with a solo home run on Friday.

• Kinsler extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Saturday with a single in the fifth inning.

MLB.com Comments