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W2W4: Rangers face Detroit Tigers

DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers, at 10-2 and leading the AL West, start a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers, who as 9-3 and on top of the AL Central. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

* Catcher Mike Napoli is officially on a hot streak. He came into Fenway Park struggling a bit, but created a little momentum with a home run Sunday in Minnesota. Turns out maybe that was the spark he needed. Napoli crushed Red Sox pitching going 6-for-9 with a double, three homers and eight RBIs. It didn't really matter if there was a left-handed or right-handed pitcher in the game for the Sox, either. Napoli looked like the guy that was so dominant on offense in the second half of last season. Napoli is hitting .328 in his career at Fenway Park. But what about Comerica Park? Napoli is hitting .246 (14-for-57), but five of those hits are homers. And since 2010, Napoli is 9-for-30 (.300) with five of those nine hits going for extra-base hits.

* The Rangers' offense is ridiculous right now. They have scored 69 runs, which is 5.75 per game. Only the St. Louis Cardinals (5.83) and the Cleveland Indians (6.2) have a higher per game average. Texas is plus-39 on run differential, meaning the opponent has scored just 30 runs in 12 games off them. Texas is first in the majors in homers with 22 and second in the big leagues (first in the AL) with 67 RBIs. ... The club's .293 average leads the AL by 25 points over the Detroit Tigers (St. Louis leads MLB with a .301 average). ... Texas is second to the Yankees in the AL in OBP (.345) and first in slugging (.516).

* The pitching comes in on a roll, too. They lead the AL with a 2.33 ERA and 10 wins. They are second in WHIP (1.11). The starting rotation leads the AL with a 2.44 ERA and a sterling 8-0 record. The starters have thrown the third-most innings in the AL at 77 1/3 (behind Oakland and Seattle). ... The club's bullpen has a 2.05 ERA, second-best in the AL and they've converted five saves, tied with Baltimore and Seattle for the most.

* Nelson Cruz plays the Tigers for the first time since winning the ALCS MVP Award for his monster series against them in 2011. Cruz hit six homers and had 13 RBIs in the series. Interestingly, he did most of that damage in Arlington. He was just 2-for-11 at Comerica Park. But both hits were homers and he collected five RBIs.

* Michael Young has a career average of .317 at Comerica Park with four homers and 18 RBIs in 183 at-bats there. ... He was just 3-for-14 there in the ALCS last year. Young is expected to be back in the lineup this weekend after dealing with a stiff back.

* Alexi Ogando pitched 7 1/3 innings against the Tigers in the ALCS and allowed just one run. But Ogando hasn't faced Prince Fielder yet and he's struggled against Miguel Cabrera, who is 5-for-9 off him.

* In nine regular season starts against the Rangers, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 58 1/3 innings. He has a complete game vs. Texas and has 58 strikeouts to go along with 15 walks. ... He was 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in the 2011 ALCS against Texas. Verlander lost Game 1 in Arlington as the Rangers scored three runs in four innings off him. He won Game 5 in Detroit despite allowing four runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.

* Cabrera is batting .371 in his career against the Rangers. That's his highest average against any opponent in which he's played at least 40 games. Cabrera has eight homers and 45 RBIs and a 1.022 OPS versus Texas.

* Closer Joe Nathan is a perfect 33-for-33 in save opportunities in his career against the Tigers. The 33 saves are the second-most he has against any opponent in his career (he has 37 against the Royals). Nathan has a 1.56 ERA against Detroit and at Comerica Park, he's 18-for-18 in save tries with a 1.59 ERA.