Fans were pumped to get the season underway last night and so were the Tigers. Some may have been a little too amped up, though.
For starters, Justin Verlander may have been gotten a little too excited after getting the first two outs in the bottom of the first, in what seemed to be an easy 1-2-3 inning. Unfortunately, he fell behind the third hitter, Alex Rios, and wound up walking him en route to an inning from hell. He would go on to allow four runs in the inning on over 30 pitches, which put his team in an irrecoverable hole against a pitcher who has dominated Tigers hitters (most hitters in MLB) in recent years.
A two out walk, especially after retiring the first two hitters, is the ultimate no-no for pitchers! I have been told by pitching coaches my entire life, the biggest mistake a pitcher can make aside from not throwing first pitch strikes, is giving up a walk after you've retired the first two hitters. It's annoying, unnecessary, and can be a major momentum killer, as it proved to be for Verlander. Skipper didn't think too highly of it either.
"You just got two outs with nobody on base," Leyland said. "You want to get ahead. He got behind, walked the guy and just couldn't come out of it."I would say that's like me starting the game off with two, nice, cold beers and switching to a warm glass of milk for my third beverage of choice. Inexcusable and unforgiving.
Anyway, enough about that. To be fair, Verlander wasn't the only pitcher who struggled. Eddie Bonine came into relief for him and gave up a lead off three-run homer, which is not what you want when going to the 'pen with runners on base. He settled down though and pitched pretty well in a inning-munching role.
Juan Ricon, making his first appearance as a Tiger in the regular season, allowed three runs on two hits and walked two. This all after a scoreless spring. I hope those were just the jitters/him being due to give up a few runs. Otherwise, he could find himself out of a job sooner than he thinks.
As for the Tigers offense, Brandon Inge and Curtis Granderson provided the 'that's nice, but it's probably too late," spark- both hitting home runs. In addition, Cabrera and Maggs each had two hits, starting their season off where each may end it: with a .500 batting average.
Tonight, the Tigers will square off in game two of this four game set with the Blue Jays as Edwin Jackson makes his regular season debut. Hopefully, nerves will not play a role in this one for him. They certainly will play a role for me since I'm excited to see Edwin pitch. I only saw him throw once during the Spring. Lefty, David Purcey will get the nod for the Blue Jays.
Detroit4lyfe will be having another live blogcast tonight for the game. Make sure you stop by and join in on the dugout chatter. Please bring your fungos for Rally Stew just in case it's needed--we forgot ours last night. See photo for reference: