The Detroit Tigers will raise their American League championship banner on Friday, as they kick off the home portion of their schedule against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park.
"Opening Day in Detroit is an event, so it'll be exciting," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said.
Of course, the Tigers swept the Yankees in last year's ALCS to put themselves in this position. But that would be the last celebrating Detroit would do, as the Tigers were then swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.
"It's going to be crazy, electrifying, and it's going to be a lot fun," said Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, who signed with the Tigers after spending last year with the Angels. "These guys are just going off winning the ALCS, getting to the World Series, and the support system's going to be crazy, bigger than I've probably ever been a part of. Because I've never been on a team that's been to the World Series and won the ALCS. This will really be my first time experiencing this."
Detroit hopes to be flying a different banner at next year's Opening Day festivities, but enters Friday's contest after losing two of three to the Minnesota Twins, including an ugly 8-2 setback in Thursday's finale.
Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez both had two hits in the loss, while Tigers starter Rick Porcello (0-1) gave up two home runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"That's what good hitters do when you fall behind and you miss with fastballs over the plate," Porcello said of the homers. "That was just a product of two poorly pitched at-bats on my part."
Hoping to change their fortunes on Friday will be righty Doug Fister, who battled injuries last season and was 10-10 with a 3.45 ERA in 26 starts. Fister has faced the Yankees four times and is 1-2 against them with a 5.18 ERA.
New York, meanwhile, salvaged the finale of its three-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, as Andy Pettitte allowed just one run over eight solid innings in the Yankees' 4-2 triumph.
As he had so many times before, Pettitte then turned the game over to Mariano Rivera, who added to his all-time saves lead with a shaky ninth less than a year removed from suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Lyle Overbay staked the Yankees to an early lead with a two-run single, and Francisco Cervelli and Brett Gardner provided insurance with solo home runs.
On Friday, New York will hand the ball to right-hander Ivan Nova on Friday. Nova was 10-3 with a 3.92 ERA before the All-Star break last season, but struggled to a 2-5 mark with a 7.05 ERA in 11 starts the rest of the way.
Detroit, which lost six of its 10 regular season meetings to the Yankees last season, hasn't lost a home opener since 2008.