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Tigers’ Eduardo Rodriguez continues road back vs. Rangers

Aug 21, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Detroit Tigers visit the Texas Rangers on Saturday night, the game will feature two starting pitchers who are thankful to be on the mound.

Eduardo Rodriguez of Detroit and Dallas Keuchel of Texas have had tumultuous seasons, although for different reasons.

Last Sunday, Rodriguez made his first start for the Tigers since May 18, when he initially was placed on the injured list due to a rib-cage injury.

That turned into a much longer absence when, on June 9, he left the team for personal reasons.

At one point in July, the Tigers said Rodriguez hadn’t had any contact with the team.

But eventually, Rodriguez (2-3, 3.89 ERA) got back in the fold, made a couple rehab starts in the minors and returned to big-league action on Sunday, pitching five scoreless innings in a 4-0 Detroit win over the Los Angeles Angels.

“It feels fine,” Rodriguez said following that game. “I’ve already thrown in the minor leagues. It doesn’t feel like a big deal. Just go out there and pitch like it’s a normal game.”

Over the offseason, Rodriguez signed a five-year, $77 million contract with Detroit. In his career, he is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA in seven career starts against Texas.

His counterpart also has gone through adversity this year, given Keuchel (2-7, 8.53 ERA) will be making a start for his third team in 2022.

Keuchel started the year with the Chicago White Sox before being let go and signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He made his first start in Arizona against the Tigers in June, allowing four runs on six hits, but striking out seven, in 4 1/3 innings of work.

But after going 0-2 in four starts for Arizona, the Diamondbacks designated Keuchel for assignment in July.

The Rangers signed him to a minor league contract, added him to the taxi squad on Friday and announced he will start on Saturday. In his career against Detrolt, Keuchel is 5-4 with a 4.98 ERA in 15 appearances (13 starts).

Keuchel will hope to help the Rangers continue some momentum created after Tony Beasley took over when manager Chris Woodward was fired on Aug. 15.

Texas is 7-4 in Beasley’s 11 games as manager as he auditions for the job on a permanent basis.

“Just having fun,” Beasley said to Fox Sports Southwest. “Right now, just connecting with players, meeting with staff and preparing for a daily game every day. I’ve embraced every challenge that has come my way and I’m just enjoying it.”

Texas went up 3-2 in the season series against Detroit on Friday by virtue of a 7-6 victory.

While it’s not nearly enough to make up for previous losses this season, both teams have played better of late.

Detroit is 5-4 over its past nine games, while Texas has won five of six.

Both teams have struggled this season, but in different ways.

Texas enters the game No. 10 in runs scored among MLB teams, but 21st in team ERA.

Meanwhile, Detroit entered dead last in runs scored and No. 18 in team ERA.

–Field Level Media