Looking to open the series with a pair of victories, the Detroit Tigers will take the field for Friday's game with Tampa Bay just four games away from first place in the American League's Central Division.
As always, the Tigers will benefit from sending ace Justin Verlander to the mound for the series' second game, as the hard-throwing right-hander has his sights firmly set on picking up a win in his fourth consecutive start. Verlander will take on a vastly different Tampa Bay lineup than the one that knocked him around for four earned runs back on April 9, but won't have much room for error facing off against Rays starter David Price.
Offensively for Detroit, manager Jim Leyland has opted to move speedy outfielder Quintin Berry down to the No. 9 hole for the evening to face the left-handed Price, as second baseman Ramon Santiago will assume the No. 2 spot. While he is hitting a stellar .316 for the season overall, Berry owns just a .259 average and an even less impressive .286 on-base percentage against left-handed pitching this season, a pair of rather damning statistics that both likely weighed into Leyland's decision.
Here are Friday's starting lineups for both teams:
5. Delmon Young - DH
Justin Verlander - SP
2. Carlos Pena - 1B
8. Elliot Johnson - SS
David Price - SP