ARLINGTON, Texas --Yu Darvish goes back to the mound Friday to open a three-game series against slumping Detroit seeking his first victory since June 3.
The Texas right-hander is winless in five starts since coming off a second stint on the disabled list July 16 despite a 2.73 ERA and .216 opponents' batting average during that stretch. Darvish (2-3, 2.78 ERA) did not factor into the decision in the Rangers' 5-3 victory over Houston on Sunday.
Darvish went a season-high seven innings and gave up no runs on five hits while striking out eight against the Astros for his fourth consecutive quality start. He has struck out at least eight batters in four of his past five turns and has gone more than six innings in his past two.
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Darvish is 0-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 23 strikeouts in his last three starts. In his career against Detroit, he is 5-0 with a 3.60 ERA in five starts, though he hasn't faced the Tigers in more than two years.
"The last four games I feel like I've pitched really well so what I'm focusing on right now is to keep pitching like I have," Darvish said.
Darvish might be licking his chops.
The Tigers, losers of four straight games, managed six runs in 33 innings while being swept by Seattle. With Cameron Maybin (sprained thumb) hurting and Nick Castellanos (broken left hand) out of the lineup, Detroit's offense has suffered.
"We're aware of what's going on," Justin Verlander told the Detroit Free Press after a 3-1 loss Wednesday in a game featuring Verlander and Felix Hernandez. "We are aware of losing some key pieces. Hopefully it's short-term rather than long-term. But we've got enough guys to plug the holes. I've got faith in every one of these guys.
"We can't get down about the guys that aren't there for you. We've got to win with what we've got right now."
The Tigers counter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-11, 5.88 ERA), who turned in his best start of the season in his most recent outing, going eight innings for the first time in 2016 and limiting the Mets to one run on four hits while striking out 10 and not walking a batter in a no-decision.
Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.70 and 17 strikeouts in his last three starts.
Wilson has allowed runs in six of his last eight appearances.
"It happens to everybody," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "Even the best are going to have bad stretches, unfortunately it costs you games a lot of times. That's the nature of the position, the nature of the role they have in the bullpen."
The series also features the return of Ian Kinsler, his first appearance in Texas since the retirement of Prince Fielder, the primary components of the blockbuster between the teams in 2013.