Interleague play starts with Tigers
The lack of familiarity will be the challenge as L.A. faces Detroit
The two teams last met in 2008, when the Tigers swept a three-game series from the Dodgers at Comerica Park in Detroit. Their only other meetings came in 2005 and 2003.
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Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley (4-2, 4.03), whose occasional struggles over the years pale in comparison to those of former National League Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis (4-2, 4.03), will be opposed by Willis in the opener. L.A. rookie John Ely (2-1, 3.51), who has now faced 84 consecutive batters without walking any of them, will pitch on Saturday against right-hander Armando Galarraga (1-0, 1.59), who will be making his second start of the season after being called up from Triple-A Toledo last week.
Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (5-1, 2.87) will pitch the finale against Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.93), whose inflated ERA is mostly the result of a string of bad starts in late April and who has allowed just four runs on 12 hits over 14 innings in his past two starts.
The Tigers' starting lineup features early-season candidates for American League Rookie of the Year (center fielder Austin Jackson, who is hitting .329 with 10 doubles, three triples and six steals in seven attempts) and Most Valuable Player (first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who is hitting .340 with nine homers and 38 RBIs).
Alex Avila, the Tigers' backup catcher, is the grandson of Dodgers Latin American scouting legend Ralph Avila.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com