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Tigers Vs. Rays: Early-Season Favorites Start 3-Game Series

Games can only be so important when the season is 1/54 complete. But when the Tigers and Rays start a three-game series Tuesday, a pair of legitimate contenders will be squaring off.


Reduced to a percentage, the baseball season is less than two percent complete. As such, it's not always advisable to get riled about games at this point in the year.

Still, when it comes to early-season intrigue, this week's series between the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays, which begins Tuesday afternoon in Detroit, is one to watch.

Both teams come in 3-0, and the hot starts are no surprise. Indeed, more than a few baseball writers had these teams pegged as contenders before the season even began. Sports Illustrated, for example, had a handful of experts predicting playoff berths for these two, as did

The Tigers' offense is mashing thus far, as expected. Detroit is first in the league in batting average and slugging percentage, and second in both runs and on-base percentage.

But the Rays aren't far behind. They are third in batting average, second in slugging and first in OBP.

In the series-opener on Tuesday, the Tigers will send fourth-year man Rick Porcello to the hill, while the Rays' starter will be Matt Moore. Last season Moore pitched 19.1 innings -- all in high-pressure situations in September and October -- and struck out 23 batters.

Tuesday's game starts at 1:05 ET.

For more on the Detroit Tigers, check out Bless You Boys. You can also head over to SB Nation's main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.