CREATED Apr. 1, 2013
Its been 155 long days since the Tigers walked off the field at Comerica Park, after a 10-inning decision proved to be the deciding one in the 2012 World Series. The Giants swept our boys, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of not only the players, but also hundreds of thousands of Tigers fans across the state. Despite the Triple Crown and World Series appearance, Tigers fans want more. And that is what they can expect in 2013.
The ink has barely dried from Justin Verlander’s newest contract, making him (hopefully) a Tiger for life, while also making him one of baseball’s highest paid players. The Tigers also signed veteran outfielder and fan favorite Torii Hunter in the offseason, and the nine-time Gold Glove winner is scheduled to bat second in today’s starting lineup. Hunter is three shy of 300 career homeruns – a mark we can expect to see him break early this season. Victor Martinez is also joining the Tigers once more, after sitting out the entire 2012 season with an ACL injury. V-Mart posted a .330 batting average over 145 games in 2011 for Jim Leyland.
There is no lack of offensive firepower for the Tigers this year, and according to today’s lineup, opposing pitchers will be facing six straight .300+ batters. Let me know if you can name another team with that kind of offense. I’ll wait. Returning sluggers for Detroit include Miggy, Prince, V-Mart and Andy Dirks, who improved his average nearly .100 points from 2011 to 2012.
Fan favorite and early season MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera earned 66 walks last year, nearly half the number he earned two years ago, thanks in large part to the supporting cast Miggy has behind him (Prince, Martinez, Dirks). We can expect to see more of “Miggy being Miggy” at Comerica this year, while he closes in on 2000 career hits.
The starting rotation is back in full force for Jim Leyland, with Verlander, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello combining for 43 wins last season. Add another 10 wins from righty Doug Fister and Detroit is once again on pace to top the AL Central, if not the entire American League.
The Tigers and Twins are scheduled for a 4:10pm first pitch at Target Field in Minneapolis. Starting on the mound for Detroit is Justin Verlander (0-0), while the Twins will start righty Vance Worley (0-0), who won 6 games in 23 starts last year for the Philadelphia Phillies. Detroit will welcome fans back to Comerica Park for the home opener this Friday against the NY Yankees at 1:05pm.