After his most promising start yet, Rangers rookie Nick Martinez will get his second look at the Tigers in Thursday night's series finale at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Detroit, which has won six straight, has faced four rookie pitchers this season, including a May 24 contest against Martinez. In that game, a 12-2 Rangers win, the Tigers managed just one run off Martinez over six innings.
Martinez is coming off a no-decision versus the Angels in which he threw seven innings of two-run, three-hit ball. In the start prior, he picked up the loss against the Mariners despite allowing only two runs over six innings.
"That's two starts in a row that he maintained his stuff -- was able to get his changeup over, was able to get his breaking ball, was able to spot his fastball," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "So it's just something he's going to have to keep doing to be successful. He's already proved that you can't stay out there with just a fastball. If you can't get anything else on, you're not going to last.
"I'm excited about it -- to see how he just maintains."
Martinez said that, against a lineup like Detroit's that can make you pay, commanding the strike zone will be crucial. The Rangers will need a strong start out of him to avoid an eighth straight loss.
"I'm pretty successful when I'm locating my fastball," the 23-year-old said. "When I'm not locating my fastball, it's going to be a tough day for me. So as long as I can locate my fastball, command my fastball, my other pitches seem to fall."
Rick Porcello, the tall Tigers' right-hander, is also coming off of a promising performance. He threw six scoreless innings last week against the Indians to pick up his first win since May 29.
"The development of my curveball … has been big -- change of speeds there," Porcello said after the win in Cleveland.
Porcello also has converted quality starts in three of his last four outings. But his last start against the Rangers was rough. On May 24, opposing Martinez, he allowed seven earned runs off 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Tigers: Club still searching for 'pen help
Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski acknowledged on Wednesday that the club is in the market for relief help.
He also was adamant that, despite Joe Nathan's struggles at times this season, the organization is not seeking a new closer.
"We may need a little bit of help in the bullpen," Dombrowski told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio's Inside Pitch program, "maybe middle as we go forward, or someone that can help pitch later in the game. But we're not looking for that closer and that gives you a very comfortable feeling. …
"We feel comfortable with Joba [Chamberlain] the way he's throwing later there. We have some young guys in our bullpen right now, so I think it's more somebody that feels comfortable pitching a combination of the seventh and eighth innings for us at this time."
Rangers: Engel Beltre to begin rehab stint
Outfielder Engel Beltre will begin a 20-day medical rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, the Rangers announced Wednesday.
Beltre began the season on the disabled list with a right tibia fracture.
"I think with the situation we're in, if he can go on this rehab assignment ... he could be a big help to us," Washington said.
"It is key for him to get back and play baseball, and he could help his organization, too."
• The Tigers will be trying to sweep back-to-back series for the first time since May 12-18 this season. After that stretch, they lost seven of their next eight.
• A loss would extend Texas' losing streak to eight, which would mark its longest since August 2005.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.