Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And We're Off and Running

Photo: Getty Images
I should have known things would turn out all right, because I wasn’t as terrified as I had been during previous Opening Days. The starting pitching matchup turned out kind of strange. It seemed like Verlander was more on top of his game than Greinke, but he gave up more runs. Still, despite the bad critics reviews at Yahoo, no one in the Tigers blogosphere seems too concerned. But there was quite a strong outing by the bullpen, helped out by Austin Jackson a little. Valverde had a rocky ride in the ninth, though things were compounded by Santiago’s error and Valverde forgetting how many outs there were (though the perception of that play was completely different if you listened to it on the radio).  

The offense didn’t do a whole lot against Greinke, but they were able to get his pitch count up by the sixth inning and since it’s April, that was enough. It was an especially good day for the new position players, particularly in the seventh-inning rally. Scott Sizemore drew a leadoff walk and took third on Santiago’s pinch-hit single. Austin Jackson doubled him in, and Johnny Damon doubled in Jackson and Santiago to give the Tigers the lead for good. We also got some good stuff from Maggs, Cabrera, and Inge. And we got more fountain spray on the center field camera, which at one point led to a lovely shot of a blurry green towel wiping off the lens. 

After we get teased with one game, we now have to sit through this off-day before we get to enjoy another one. And this one is a night game (which my professors will probably appreciate, since that means I won’t be trying to follow a game on my iPod during class, like I was all through spring training). Max Scherzer will make his Tigers debut. Obviously he’s new to the American League, but the Baseball-Reference stats would seem to indicate that he’s made one start against the Royals in Interleague play. He’s 1-0 against them, having pitched six innings and given up two earned runs and striking out five. I’ll certainly take a repeat of that. Obviously, there’s not much to go on in terms of individual hitters, but Mitch Maier of all people is 3-for-3 against him. Since Gil Meche is on the DL, Luke Hochevar will pitch for the Royals. I remember him. He pitched in the game I went to last year. The Tigers scored a bunch of runs off him. I remember Santiago homering off him as well. And you think Miguel Cabrera’s licking his chops? He’s 8-for-9 off him. Hochevar is capable of putting together a really good start every once in a while, though (I do remember one game in 2008 in which he outdueled Justin Verlander and shut out the Tigers).

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