David Price and Justin Verlander are set to start against each other for the first time.
Verlander will be searching for his fourth straight win Friday night when his Detroit Tigers try to hand Price's Tampa Bay Rays a season-high fifth straight defeat.
The marquee game of this four-game set that began Thursday figures to be this matchup of Verlander (8-4, 2.52 ERA) - the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP - and Price (10-4, 2.95), who can become the AL's first 11-game winner with Texas 10-game winner Matt Harrison also pitching later Friday.
Verlander, who has 113 strikeouts to trail teammate Max Scherzer by one for the AL lead, has posted a 1.88 ERA in winning his last three outings. He pitched a five-hitter for his major league-leading fourth complete game Sunday in a 3-2 victory at Pittsburgh.
"I didn't have the flashy fastball or anything, but I was able to pitch and go nine innings," he said.
The right-hander's last three starts, however, have been against NL clubs. He's 0-3 with a 4.43 ERA in his last three against AL foes.
Verlander threw eight scoreless innings the last time he faced Tampa Bay (40-36), but faltered when he gave up four runs in the ninth of a 4-2 defeat April 11. He entered that outing 6-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 career starts against the Rays.
Tampa Bay hitters who have troubled Verlander in the past include B.J. Upton (8 for 18) and Hideki Matsui (8 for 24). It's been a different story for Ben Zobrist (3 for 26 with seven strikeouts).
Price, meanwhile, has posted a 0.88 ERA in winning all four home starts against AL opponents. He enters with consecutive road wins, yielding one run over seven innings Sunday in a 3-2 win over Philadelphia in the opener of a doubleheader.
The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA with 28 strikeouts over 26 2-3 innings in four career starts against the Tigers. The trio of Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson and Jhonny Peralta are 2 for 33 with 14 strikeouts against him.
Cabrera and Jackson each had four hits in a 5-2 victory Thursday. Scherzer struck out seven over six innings as Detroit (37-39) avoided its first three-game skid since June 3-6.
The Tigers have won 10 of 12 against the Rays, posting a 2.22 ERA over that stretch.
"We do not hit well against this team,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "We just have a hard time scoring against them. They've gotten us pretty good."
The Rays haven't dropped five straight since their 0-6 start last season. They have totaled eight runs in this slide, with Upton going 1 for 15 and Carlos Pena 2 for 16.
"We just need to be more consistent offensively,'' Maddon said. "Normally we feed off of our defense. I think we need to start feeding off our offense a little bit.''
Luke Scott, activated from the 15-day disabled list (back stiffness) for Thursday's game, went 0 for 3 in his first action since June 8. He's hitless in his last 15 at-bats.
Zobrist has eight hits in his last 20 at-bats, but will have to turn around his negative history against Verlander to remain hot.