Much was made of the Tigers' trade for David Price before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. The lefty became the third current Detroit starter with a Cy Young Award, joining Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer to make an impressive trio.
But while the attention will mostly be on the top of the Tigers' rotation, opponents would be unwise to forget about Rick Porcello.
The righty (12-5, 3.24 ERA) has been excellent this year, and he is one more reason why Detroit will be perhaps the most feared team in the American League come October.
This series, though, he faces a National League opponent.
Porcello had two seasons (2009, '13) in which he owned the NL, going 3-0 in Interleague Play in both of those seasons. He has had other seasons in which NL teams have roughed him up. So far, this has been a season in between.
He was hit hard by the Padres in San Diego on April 11, giving up five runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings, and he took a no-decision in a quality start last week in Arizona with seven innings of three-run ball.
Both of those games were in the NL parks. Facing the Rockies on Saturday in his home park under AL rules might mean more to him than other Tigers pitchers.
"I don't know, it's just the way it's gone down," Porcello said. "There's no particular thing, any reason why I've pitched well against National League teams. That's just how it is. I mean, I can't explain the reason why three years ago I was getting crushed by Cleveland and lately I've had some success against them. That's just the way it goes. At that particular time, I've made good pitches against those teams."
On Saturday, he'll go up against Colorado's Tyler Matzek, another young starter.
The 23-year-old made his MLB debut on June 11, and he started nine games before making his first relief appearance during the Rockies' 16-inning loss to the Cubs on Tuesday.
Matzek pitched in relief in the Arizona Fall League and in Major League camp.
"The 15th, they said, 'Start playing catch, you might come into the game,'" Matzek said. "It's different, but I've thrown in the 'pen before, so I had everything down. It was nothing crazy."
The appearance threw off his original start schedule, and Matzek was named the Saturday starter on Friday evening.
"We felt like we just needed to get him a couple more days," manager Walt Weiss said. "We didn't feel like we had to make any big adjustments. Just wanted to get him a couple more days of rest."
Rockies: LeMahieu impressing vs. AL
DJ LeMahieu entered Friday's series opener against Detroit batting an MLB-best .450 (18-for-40) in Interleague Play.
However, he went 0-for-3 with a walk in Friday's loss.
Born and raised in nearby Bloomfield Hills, Mich., LeMahieu will try to get back on track against his hometown team for the remainder of the weekend.
Tigers: Carrera hopes to make most of opportunity
After Detroit traded starting center fielder Austin Jackson to Seattle this week, Ezequiel Carrera and Rajai Davis were expected to shoulder most of the workload.
Davis got the start on Friday vs. lefty Franklin Morales, and Carrera might be out again on Saturday since Matzek is also a left-hander. Davis is hitting only .254 against righties and .371 off lefties.
But Carrera is not exactly an automatic cure all -- he owns a .251 average through parts of three seasons in the big leagues.
"Jackson's a very good center fielder," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think you'll be surprised how good Carrera is in center field when he's there. We lost a little bit defensively probably, overall, and a little bit offensively, especially the way Jackson's swinging the bat. But you don't get something for nothing, and you certainly don't get David Price for nothing."
• Matzek's win over the Pirates on July 26 was his first in eight starts since his victorious debut. He proceeded to be handed another loss in relief just three days later.
• Porcello is on pace for the fewest hits/nine innings (8.3) and walks/nine innings (1.9) of his career.