After an offseason that turned out to be more than Detroit Tigers fans bargained for, Opening Day is finally upon us. 162 games are staring us all straight in the face. These games will be filled with heroics, disappointment, injury, questionable umpiring, and all that comes with a great baseball season.
But here on Day 1, this is what you need to know:
- Justin Verlander will take on the, um, ‘ace’ of the Minnesota Twins, Vance Worley, at 4:10 eastern time in Minnesota.
- Worley has 18 career wins and his ERA last season was 4.20. Verlander has 124 career wins and his ERA in 2012 was 2.64.
- Game time temps in Minneapolis should be right at 34 degrees.
- The Tigers will roll out their regular lineup today:
- Austin Jackson – CF
- Torii Hunter – RF
- Miguel Cabrera – 3B
- Prince Fielder – 1B
- Victor Martinez – DH
- Andy Dirks – LF
- Jhonny Peralta – SS
- Alex Avila – C
- Omar Infante – 2B
- The Twins will roll out Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and a bunch of guys you may have never heard of.
- If the Tigers need a save on Opening Day the smart money is on Phil Coke, since he is a lefty and Mauer and Morneau share the same distinction.
- The Tigers should win today, but they might lose, because baseball is a crazy game. If they win, it will be one of about 95 that they put in the victory column this year on their way to another AL Central crown.
- USA Today has published the Tigers’ team payroll at $148,414,500. That is the highest mark in the history of this organization.
- If the Tigers struggle to close out games in the 9th inning, that number will rise accordingly.
- One thing I love most about Tigers fans is their undying passion. They aren’t afraid to throw anyone under the bus. The early clubhouse leaders for guys that will take heat early and often are Anibal Sanchez, Joaquin Benoit, and Omar Infante. Prepare accordingly.
- Remember this: today is just Game 1. It’s a long season. “A marathon, not a sprint” Rod Allen would say. The Tigers will win this division. From there, they can only hope to be hot in the playoffs and make a run at it.—
If you care to know who I think will make the playoffs this year, here you go:
AL East, Tampa Bay – AL Central, Detroit – AL West, Los Angeles – Wild Cards, Toronto and Oakland
NL East, Washington – NL Central, Cincinnati – NL West, San Francisco – Wild Cards, Atlanta and Arizona
MVP Winners: Evan Longoria and Joey Votto
Cy Young Winners: Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw
Rookies of the Year: Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Red Sox) and Matt Harvey (Mets)
Managers of the Year: Joe Maddon (Rays) and Davey Johnson (Nationals)
Enjoy Opening Day.
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