Harrison and Porcello will take the mound opposite each other at Comerica Park for the first time since a rain-soaked Game 4 of the ALCS last October. Both allowed three runs and earned no-decisions that day as the Rangers won a thriller in 11 innings.
Friday night, the two pitchers return to the scene of that instant classic in the second game of a four-game set.
"Obviously, we lost to these guys in the playoffs last year, and it would be nice to beat them here at home," said Porcello, whose Tigers lost to Texas 10-3 on Thursday. "But we're trying to beat everybody. It doesn't matter who we're playing. I don't think there's really a revenge factor."
The early-season success for the two squads can be in part attributed to the performances of Porcello and Harrison, who have improved greatly on their 2011 form.
Harrison has opened the 2012 campaign with a 2-0 mark and just one run allowed in his two starts. Dating back to last season, he is 6-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his last seven regular-season outings.
Harrison is pitching on six days rest after being pushed back because the Rangers had an off-day on Monday. The team wanted to keep Yu Darvish working on four days rest, so Harrison compensated by having two bullpen sessions between starts instead of one.
"Hopefully my command is still there," Harrison said. "It's a long break, but I put my work in between starts and I feel good about it. I'm ready to go."
Harrison is 6-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 12 career starts with six-plus days of rest.
"It won't hurt him," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He can use it. He had a long season last year and a quick winter. Anytime we can get him a break, we're going to use it."
As for Porcello, he has done a great job of keeping the ball down in the zone. In his two starts this season, he has induced 18 groundball outs and opponents are hitting just .226 against him.
His last time out, Porcello allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings against the White Sox. He is 1-0 this year with a 1.84 ERA.
"This is probably one of the deepest lineups that we see," Porcello said of Texas. "They've got a lot of guys that can do damage. You just got to go out there and make pitches and throw strikes and just do the best you can to keep them off balance. It's a good team, there's not much else you can say."
Rangers: Moreland, Murphy set for starts
After getting the day off for Thursday night's series opener, Mitch Moreland and David Murphy will be back in the Rangers' lineup Friday for Game 2. Including the playoffs, Murphy is 7-for-9 with a home run against Porcello.
Mike Napoli will return to the catcher spot, clearing room at first for Moreland. Napoli has started six games behind the plate and five at first base so far this season.
"I'm going to keep Mike in the lineup," Washington said. "I said in Minnesota I'm going to get Mike as many at-bats as I can. He is one of the guys we expect to carry us."
• With two more wins this series, the Rangers would win their fifth straight series to start the season for just the second time in team history. The 1989 club -- also the only other Rangers squad to start 11-2 -- did so as well.
Tigers: Rangers a familiar foe for Cabrera
Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has dominated the Rangers throughout his career. He boasted the highest batting average against Texas of any current player heading into Thursday's game.
Although he went 1-for-4 on Thursday, Cabrera is hitting .369 against Texas with eight homers and 45 RBIs.
• Cabrera is also just six RBIs shy of becoming the 21st active player with 1,000 or more RBIs.
• With his next appearance, Tigers reliever Octavio Dotel will become just the 93rd pitcher in history to appear in 700 games.
• Harrison has struggled in his career against the Tigers, going 1-4 with a 6.89 ERA in seven games.
• The Tigers have won 16 of their last 21 games against the Rangers at Comerica Park during the regular season. But the Rangers had success in the Motor City when it mattered most, taking two of three there in the 2011 ALCS.