Rangers lefty Joe Saunders offered one simple solution on Tuesday when asked what he needs to change for his Wednesday start against the Tigers.
"Throw strikes," Saunders said.
Throwing strikes was a struggle for Saunders, 33, in his most recent start, against the Angels on Friday. when he notched just three K's, a shortcoming that ultimately hid behind the 10 hits and seven runs he gave up en route to a 7-3 Angels victory.
He was pulled after just 4 2/3 innings.
"It's one of those things where sometimes, regardless of mechanics or whatever, you're just going to be a click off. You kind of deal with it and adjust accordingly," he said. "I thought I did an OK job of that last time, but this time, hopefully, we don't have any in-game adjustments to make."
Still looking for his first win of the season, Saunders is 0-3 with a 4.11 ERA heading into the matchup with the Tigers.
One of the hitters Saunders will face will be right fielder Torii Hunter, who returns to the Tigers' lineup after exiting a June 16 matchup with the Royals with a hamstring injury. Hunter did not go on the disabled list, and is hitting .266 entering Wednesday with 61 hits in 60 games.
On the mound for the Tigers will be Anibal Sanchez. In his previous start, against the Royals, Sanchez threw seven innings of one-run ball with five hits and just a single walk, despite not having any strikeouts. He's now 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA.
Tigers: Four options in the outfield
With Hunter scheduled to return, the Tigers now have four viable options in the outfield -- Hunter, Rajai Davis, J.D. Martinez and Austin Jackson.
Martinez has been filling in for Hunter this week and also saw some time in left earlier in the month, playing in place of Davis.
But Martinez, who homered on Tuesday, has gone deep five times in eight games since the start of last week and has a 13-game hitting streak, proving that he's more than just a go-to substitute. Now the Tigers must decide how they'll use their four outfielders for just three spots.
"I'd be foolish to think J.D. is going to hit like this the rest of the year, but I'm not going to take him out of the lineup right now just in case he hits like this the rest of the year," manager Brad Ausmus said.
Hunter and Martinez have both said that they'll fill whatever role is needed. Martinez added that he hopes to continue his offensive hot streak.
"I'm just hoping that I can keep it going and stay locked in, not get cocky or complacent with it, just continue to help us win," Martinez said. "I feel like I don't care what I do -- whether it's me hitting or me making a catch or throwing somebody out, I don't care."
Rangers: Rangers to honor TCU on Wednesday
On Wednesday night, the Rangers will honor TCU's 2014 baseball team, which advanced to the College World Series in Omaha. Head coach Jim Schlossnagle and other members of the Horned Frogs, who finished with a 48-18 record and won the Big 12 Conference Post-Season Tournament and both the NCAA Fort Worth Regional and Fort Worth Super Regional, will be recognized on the field prior to the game. TCU went 1-2 in the College World Series.
Wednesday is also TCU University Night; discounted tickets for students and alumni are available at www.texasrangers.com/tcu. The promotion includes reduced ticket prices; a limited edition Texas Rangers cap in TCU purple for the first 1,000 fans who purchase the special tickets; and recognition of TCU on FOX Sports Southwest's live game broadcast. Horned Frogs head football coach Gary Patterson is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
• The Rangers just need one win against Detroit this week to add another series victory against them to their record. The Rangers have claimed season series in three of the last four years, including two in a row.
• Hunter is 4-for-9 off Saunders. Jackson, by contrast, is just 1-for-7 with three strikeouts off him. Martinez is 1-for-8, and Davis is 12-for-39.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.