Both elements were things that had not been consistently seen as of late from Detroit, who needs both pitchers to get back their good stuff in order to make their team the scary behemoth many consider them to be. Saturday, they'll turn to Rick Porcello to get the job done.
What else is worth watching as the interleague battle continues? Here's five thoughts from Comerica Park.
1. Price Check. The Tigers welcomed David Price to the ballpark on Saturday afternoon, and during a crowded media session, Price was reserved in speaking about his role with his new team. "I just wanna fit in," he said routinely, while emphasizing that he didn't feel any added pressure to perform and wanted to have fun, first and foremost. Tuesday figures to be Price's first start, and it will come against the New York Yankees. It was a big day for Price, who admitted on Twitter earlier that he felt like "a kid on the first day of high school."
2. Center (Field) Of Attention: If Friday night's game was any indication, the Tigers might figure to be alright in center field even in the wake of losing Austin Jackson. Rajai Davis collected two RBIs and scored two runs, and Ezequiel Carrera collected the final out of the game in center field. Of course it's early, but the results from day one post-Jackson weren't as bad as many had expected. Carrera is starting on Saturday, so it will be important for him to continue the solid defense and offense going.
3. Crazy Eights: Justin Verlander did his job and then some on Friday, going eight strong innings and turning the ball over to Nathan in the ninth inning. With the addition of Price to an already elite staff, it's what the Tigers hope to see routinely from their hurlers, which will help an often struggling and taxed bullpen look much better. It was the type of performance Detroit needs plenty of down the stretch. Saturday, they'll expect Porcello to carry the momentum over. The good news? He already has few such starts under his belt in 2014, blanking the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics in back-to-back starts.
4. Fiesta Tigres! Fun: Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is coming back, and the Tigers will honor him on Saturday during the ninth annual Fiesta Tigres event. The ceremony will happen before the game on the field. After everything Rodriguez did for Detroit first and its baseball team second, it's nice to see him making a return to celebrate Latino heritage while getting honored.
5. Joe Hot: Since July 2, Tigers' closer Joe Nathan has been quietly outstanding, going 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA while collecting five saves. Considering where Nathan was earlier, the return has been nothing short of a significant, notable resurgence. Friday, Nathan allowed one hit, one walk and collected one strikeout in the midst of his 22nd save of the year. Could he turn the trick on back-to-back nights if asked? Considering his recent consistency, don't bet against it.
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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Tags: Austin Jackson, Baseball, David Price, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Ezequiel Carrera, Joe Nathan, Justin Verlander, MLB, Rajai Davis, Rick Porcello
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