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 Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.