The Detroit Tigers ended their season-worst four game losing streak Friday night by beating the Texas Rangers 7-2, avenging Thursday's beating. Saturday, they'll tangle with the Ft. Worth Texas Black Panthers while donning the familiar colors of the Detroit Stars as Negro League weekend takes over the ballpark.
Here's a primer of five things to watch for on Saturday afternoon.
1. Porcello Going For Win Eight: Tigers' fans are used to seeing Rick Porcello get off to good starts, but nothing like the 7-1 start he's enjoyed in 2014. Saturday, he'll go for win number eight, which would put him on track to more than eclipse his previous high win total of 14, and tie him for the American League lead with Toronto's Mark Burhle in the process.
2. Kinsler Swinging A Hot Bat: With three doubles in last night's contest for the first time since 2006, Ian Kinsler has raised his average to a blistering .326, which leads the American League. He also scored three runs, and continues to occupy the top half of the American League in that statistic with 34 scored and hits with 61. Will his torching of the Rangers, his former team, continue?
3. More On-Field Ceremonies Pay Tribute To Negro Leagues: The Tigers will continue the celebration of Negro League weekend with an on-field ceremony prior to the game. 10 former players along with two historians will preside over the ceremony, and Comerica Bank will donate $5,000 towards a historical marker for Hamtramck Stadium identifying it as a historic landmark. Former Negro League player Ron Teasley will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
4. The National Love Continues: The Tigers have enjoyed several games on national television already in 2014, and Saturday's will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with the team of Joe Buck, Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds calling the action. It's the team's third appearance on the new network already this spring. Since their baseball revival in 2006, Detroit has once again become a destination for the national reporters and media. That's especially true considering their fast start in 2014.
5. Who Scores First? This particular statistic matters a ton to Texas early this season, as they are 17-8 this year when drawing first blood in a game. Conversely, when the Rangers don't score first, their record is a paltry 6-17. Friday night's game was the exception, of course, but mostly, it's a good indicator for success or failure for the Tigers' weekend opposition.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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