Week ahead: Detroit, Oakland at home
* Texas won't see Justin Verlander in this three-game series, but they will get a Detroit Tigers team that is playing better than they were a month ago. Prior to losing two of three this past weekend to the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Tigers had won their previous four series.
* The Rangers won three of four against Detroit on the road in April. This is the first time Prince Fielder will be taking swings at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as a member of the Tigers. He's leading the club with a .304 average and teammate Miguel Cabrera has a team-high 15 homers and 56 RBIs.
* Oakland has the worst batting average in the AL at .226 and has scored just 277 runs, second-to-last (Kansas City). But the A's have the fourth-best ERA in the league at 3.63 and the starters' ERA is 3.96, which is also fourth.
* The A's had won eight of nine before losing two of three to the San Francisco Giants over the weekend. Oakland won Sunday's game in dramatic fashion, as catcher Derek Norris hit a three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to cap a come-from-behind victory.
* We'll see how the Rangers' offense performs this week. They've shown some signs of life recently, with a big inning Saturday, which included Nelson Cruz's two-homer day. It's been a sluggish unit and maybe a week at home is what it needs to get going. BTW, despite all of that, the Rangers are No. 1 in most of the key offensive categories.
* Yu Darvish starts against the Tigers on Tuesday. It will be his second start against Detroit this season. Darvish has had trouble against teams he's facing for the second time. In four starts against teams for the second time in 2012, Darvish is 1-3 with a 6.53 ERA (vs. Seattle, Toronto, LAA and Oakland) with 19 strikeouts and 18 walks. But his last two starts have been solid (against Houston and San Diego).
* The Rangers are now building on their record-setting sellout mark and will likely do so at least a few times this week.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett live from Oakland for his weekly visit.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss his role with the Rangers. Ryan says that he has not been in contact with the Astros about a possible opening and he doesn't think that he would be interested anyway.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit and wastes no time sounding off on MLB umpire Angel Hernandez.