Game 2009.001 (aka Opening Day): Tigers at Blue Jays

PREGAME: Finally. Months 6 months of despair over last year’s debacle are washed away. Two months of roster speculation can be forgotten (six Tigers are experiencing their first opening day). It’s finally time to play ball. Tonight’s pitching match-up is a dandy, as most opening day match-ups are.

The Tigers will try to scratch out a couple runs against Roy Halladay. The Tigers, like most teams, struggle against Halladay. Granderson is 4 for 10 lifetime and Polanco is 5 for 11. And the success ends there.

Verlander has only made one start in his career against the Jays and he got knockeed around to the tune of 6 runs in 4.1 innings. Fortunately we can claim “sample size!” and dismiss this information.

Tonight’s lineup is:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Laird, C
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Everett, SS
  9. Anderson, LF

Yes, Josh Anderson gets the Opening Day start over Marcus Thames essentially as Jim Leyland is trying to save Guillen’s hamstrings – on the first day of the season.

Detroit vs. Toronto – April 6, 2009 | Gameday

Game Time 7:15 (bummed about the lack of high definition for this game though)

Oh yeah, there is another big game tonight. We’ll see how the chatter goes come 9:00pm. Good luck MSU fans.

POSTGAME: For everyone who is ready to say “same old Tigers” not so fast. The bullpen didn’t blow a lead. There. Take that. I’m not saying the bullpen was good, but they didn’t cost the game. That would largely fall on the shoulders of Justin Verlander.

Verlander had nice velocity (he was at 97 the first couple innings), a curve ball that buckled some knees, but command was inconsistent. And the Blue Jays had not trouble with any of it as they banged out 6 extra base hits.

Aside from the shellacking, the other damaging part of Verlander’s outing was that he didn’t even make it through the 4th inning. So Leyland turned to Bonine to mop-up, and subsequently Nate Robertson. Robertson actually pitched well retiring the side with 2 K’s on 9 pitches. My suspicion for Robertson being lifted was that Leyland didn’t want to burn both long guys on the same night.

Juan Rincon had a hard time finding the strike zone, but those runs really had little impact.

The good news is that the offense plated 5 runs off of Roy Halladay, including 2 homers. Curtis Granderson looked good, as did the middle of the order. And of course Brandon Inge with an opposite field homer.

120 thoughts on “Game 2009.001 (aka Opening Day): Tigers at Blue Jays”

  1. Bilfer-

    Regarding Carlos Guillen…

    Had Guillen started in LF tonight instead of DH, I believe that he would have been the first MLB player to have started at four different positions on opening day (1B, Short, 3B, and LF).

    I’m about 99% sure that is true.

  2. OK, I hate to be the party pooper, just that there are two things:

    1. It seems Leyland looks for any possible reason to keep Marcus Thames out of the lineup. Give the poor guy a chance!!

    2. If you’re going to play Anderson, why bat him ninth, back-to-back with Granderson, our only other left-hander? Why not bat him 8th and Everett 9th to at least break them up a little? Actually, I’d probably bat him 7th, then Inge and Everett. Dare the opposing manager to leave that LOOGY in against Inge, who actually isn’t that bad against lefties (at least he’s got a better chance anyway).

    How about we just make Guillen full-time DH anyway, except for when Maggs needs a break from the field.
    I hope we don’t have a long season full of stuff like this.

  3. Mark L,

    Two things:

    Ok, actually just one thing, if the season ends up hinging on either of the two points you make, then the Tigers are worse off than we think.

  4. Anderson batting 9th is the key to the game. Anderson gets an infield single, then Granderson hits his second triple of the game. Tigers win 3-2.

  5. Maybe Anderson and Granderson are batting back-to-back so that Halladay will forget which one he’s pitching to? Maybe he’ll see “nderson” on the hitter’s back and groove one to Curtis? 😉

    Oddly enough, Guillen is now listed as an infielder on the Tigers active roster. Strange way to list your “everyday left fielder.”

  6. Was this the longest offseason or what? Nice to see the game preview back. I’ll watch the first few innings before I have to duck out and catch the MSU game. I’ll keep an eye on the bottom line, though.

    Go Tig’s!

  7. Mark L –

    I know what you mean about Thames. It’s a shame, but I’ve accepted that Thames getting any more than a platoon is an impossibility as long as Leyland is managing. Heck, it would matter if injures struck the Tigers starting OF, and the entire core of OF in AAA, AA, & A all got wiped out, they’d bring up someone from Rookie league and sit Thames.

  8. Just as a heads up, the Astros are playing the Cubs on ESPN 2 if you want to catch a glimpse of Pudge.

  9. anyone’s fsn messed up? I can’t get mine to come on, on the standard definition channel.

  10. The first 2 runs scored on a 2-strike pitch nearly in the batter’s box. Since then, he’s come unglued…can’t get the breaking ball over.

    One change up would have been nice….

  11. Folks, another miserable season for Verlander is on…. Amazing how walking a batter affter 2 on and none out can make such a difference.

  12. Oops, got my change up (and it turned into a double).

    I retract my previous statement.

  13. @erik he doesn’t look injured. A little trouble with command but he’s been sitting at 97. And now it looks like he found the curve.

  14. Is this opening day jitters or baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad things to come. Some of those balls were really well hit.

    Is this correctable.

  15. I hate to be naysayer this early in the season, but i go with bad things to come. The Tigers ace talked about his good stuff prior to the game. Oh boy!

  16. “Finally. Months 6 months of despair over last year’s debacle are washed away.”


  17. Talk about making lemonade…

    Headline from Official Site of The Detroit Tigers:
    “Granderson goes deep for Tigers’ first ’09 hit”

  18. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pitcher get hit so hard. Anderson sure has had a busy day so far. I like his range. He nearly bailed Verlander out a couple times.

  19. Webb, Sabathia, and Lee got shelled too, so I really don’t feel bad about Verlander. He better be ready for Saturday’s game. I plan on going.

  20. twitter is down for unscheduled maintenance right around the time that the tigers implode…. coincidence?

  21. The sky is falling!!!!

    Abandon ship!!!!

    All is lost, the future is foretold, the end is at hand, doom!!!!

  22. I’m a lifetime Tigers fan living in Toronto and I am about to bring up my dinner with what I am seeing tonight and with what I am going to have to listen to tomorrow from people here in Toronto. The Tigers finished pathetic last year and they are starting pathetic this year!

  23. Kathy don’t feel bad we just got our second run we are still in it.

    David……. Dude I guess I cant talk in generalities with you around WOW. BTW I like Inge……… anyone who can go from being on a 100+ loss season (I’m not a stat guy) to playing in the WS three years later and is as short as me playing mlb is fine with me.

    And look at that INGE is the man, all during my post

    Coleman, thanks for less of a beat down. As I said I like Inge and he has his ups and downs.

    Not really a stat guy, thats why I LOVE this site. Plus after practically begging Billfer he put a spell check in the box (BTW “Billfer” needs to be added

    (Not Stephen…….. David 😉 )

  24. I’m not liking this time change in Vegas anymore. I get to the watch the last hour of every game. Doh! Let’s hope we at least see a good outing by Nate. Look at Grandy’s range.

  25. For those of you who dont hit the site much, they have pretty decent wallpaper selections this year. The designs are much better than we have seen from them in the past.

    I thought of it when Curtis just tracked that ball down. My 11 year loves Curtis and is now the backdrop for the home PC

  26. It appears Rincon’s scoreless streak is going to come to an end at the most in-opportune time.

  27. Well the defense could use some work along with the pitching staff.

    Some of the hitters look good.

    I was hoping for a better outing than an eleven spot wiped on our face.

  28. Leyland’s hands have not left his pants the entire game. He even came out to talk to the umpire with them down there.

  29. AJ, I agree If Nate is the bullpen mop up guy, let him stay in there. This is classic Leyland over changing.

    I like the looks of Laird back there so far.


  30. This surprises me. The Canadians are some of the best fans around in both home and away parks.

  31. AJ, I live in Rochester, It looks like the game was not sold out. Many open seats. Are the fans and the media hopeful this year. I know TO lost a couple of good players.

  32. Turn on basketball. It’ll make you feel better about this game. We’re getting two butt whippings tonight.

  33. Steve, I hate the Blue Jays with a passion and I don’t watch any of their games, so I could’t tell anything about the team, but fron what I hear and see today the guy batting 9th, Snyder, might be a good one.
    It seems that Leyland made some questionable decisions on bringing in new pitchers last year!

  34. Steve I was not talking to you! I was talking to Stephen. LOL ppl! I did not say Steve, I SAID STEPHEN! with a PHEN NOT A VEN

    It is like whatever I say people misquote me, or don’t READ IT


  35. Although this time, you actually thought I was referring to you.

    On another note, lets split the series. Or better yet win the rest!

  36. I felt that the O did pretty well against Halladay. Getting more than 2 hits off of him is cause of celebration for us.

    Verlander got shelled. Fastball had good velocity, but his changeup looked like a softball. He’s not locating any of his pitches, this has been a problem for a year now. But probably just some opening day jitters. He’ll look better next Fri in the home opener.

    Our bullpen is gonna lose a lot of games this year. Leyland’s use of the pen was bewildering, but I can’t imagine that anyone is out for tomorrow.

    Everett is gonna have a lot of 0-4 nights, but I don’t expect too many errors. Glad that one didn’t matter.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s game.

  37. Yes, Gallaraga is scheduled to start Friday. Verlander would be in the second game at Comerica on Saturday.

  38. Well, the two other central teams playing today lost too. Other than the offense, that’s the only positive. I wish I could say Verlander was just another ace having a bad opening day, but when it’s a continuing trend from last year, one has to wonder. Are we still allowed to blame Chuck Herndandez?

  39. Does anyone think if Verlander gets out of the 1st he is a different guy. Man I sure want to.

    The good news is we are tied for first at 0-1 with Cleveland.
    KC and my pal the Hawk (Any thoughts on him David?) had the day off.


  40. My bad, thanks for the correction. I was just hoping we’d skip Wed’s Miner start.

  41. Verlander has all the talent in the world, but he has no control, no idea how to pitch and can’t handle any pressure/adversity on the mound.

    Sad to see him flameout so early after his promising first two seasons. The Tigers still can’t develop pitchers.

  42. TS ……….. Lets get a few more starts in before we give up on the guy. Yes he pitched poorly but his problems look correctable to me. We need him to GHST and be a solid performer the rest of the year. Lets see what the new guy can do in getting a pitcher together. Thats his job and we expect and need him to do it.

    Kevin we would need a real lot of rain for a rain out in Toronto. Good try though.

    Has anyone seen or heard from Ken in Cinncy? or Joey the C.

  43. Ken in Cincy is now Ken in LV. Last I heard he lost Jim Leyland’s replacement lungs in an all-night Omaha affair to the ghost of Amarillo Slim and then went on a 3 day binge of Minotaur energy drink, Topps chewing gum and ham sandwiches, the last of which ended up in the parking lot of the Spearmint Rhino. Poor guy, he never got in.

    As a result, Jim Leyland won’t retire until he has enough money to buy Chet Lemon’s spare parts. As a result, look for more 1-2-3 innings from Nate Robertson and subsequent 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 innings from Eddie Bonine this season.

  44. “We were facing Roy Halladay anyway.”

    And the Tigers got him for five runs.

    Problem is the Tigers’ “ace” is a mental midget (gets visably rattled and hyper on the mound, can’t control his emotions) who has A-ball command. He has no clue how to pitch. He consistently falls behind hitters and misses his location. He’s made no progression since 2006. He’s not even a good #5 starter right now, which is sad, given his stuff.

  45. Yeah the biggest let down was Verlander. He hasn’t been the same since they decided to change is approach following 2007. Offense looked good against RH but I had a feeling the game was over as soon as Justin lost it in the first inning.

  46. Re: TigersSuck…

    “Verlander has all the talent in the world, but he has no control, no idea how to pitch and can’t handle any pressure/adversity on the mound.”

    He handled the pressure of his no-hitter all right. Your thesis needs reworking.

  47. Scott Erickson and Eric Milton also handled the pressure of throwing no-hitters. Maybe the Tigers should make a play for those guys, too.

  48. On a lighter note, after Verlander plunked a guy last night I started trying to figure out what the opposite of “hitting for the cycle” would be, for pitchers.

    I was thinking it should be: hitting a batter, wild pitch, walking a run in, and giving up a GS.


  49. Despite the final score, at least I got to see a few of the new faces on the roster.
    The game also reminded me how much I hate artificial turf. Playing on that stuff is not really baseball, it’s more like street ball. I think it’s ridiculous.

  50. Bottom line is their ace was better than our ace. Lookng for a silver lining however, I would say that because the game was so far gone so early, that Leyland’s managing ability never came into play.

  51. “Ken in Cincy is now Ken in LV. Last I heard he lost Jim Leyland’s replacement lungs in an all-night Omaha affair to the ghost of Amarillo Slim and then went on a 3 day binge of Minotaur energy drink, Topps chewing gum and ham sandwiches, the last of which ended up in the parking lot of the Spearmint Rhino. Poor guy, he never got in.”

    Hilarious post, Kevin, and surprisingly accurate. Replace Spearmint Rhino with Cheetas, and ghost of Amarillo Slim with 80 year old Asian lady and you have me pegged. Oh, and I thought I told you I gave up ham sandwiches.

  52. Ken What happened to Cinncy?………….. Well nice to know you are somewhere. We almost had to break out the oatmeal cookies yesterday for everyone.

    Hope all is well.


  53. TIGER FANS. There is a blog called that is really unfairly ripping your players and manager abou the whole taking your team off the field during last night’s game when the Toronto fans started acting like morons. The person who wrote the blog was a drunk prick named Stoeten, who btw thinks he is the second coming of Peter Gammons, he called your team a bunch or pussies.
    You guys should band together and and tear a strip off this guy on his blog.

  54. Well, the drunk Jay fans did seem well represented at the game. (This may be overly picky, but isn’t the “drunk” prefix a bit redundant once you see it refers to “jays fans?”). BTW, I certainly would have never predicted Inge to do much of anything last night. Previously against Halladay, in 21 AB: .095/.136/.095 (yes they were both singles) 1 BB/ 2 K/ 0 RBI.

  55. It’s kind of depressing that I feel like I want to hit the ‘reset’ button already. But it’s all about perspective. If we were 40-20 and this game happened in June, we’d all think, “well you’re gonna get games like that. Turn around tomorrow and get back on track.”

    I think Jackson (and the bullpen) throw a very solid game tonight and we score plenty of runs to get the victory.

  56. Toronto

    Thanks for the heads up and thinking of us. No need to debate ridiculous behavior at a game where truly a player could get hurt. I’ll put my man David on for the longer version. If this is a bait (which it appears NOT to be) the people who post here are baseball type people for the most part. Not who can fart the loudest or have the biggest frog in their pocket.

    My understanding is the umpires actually called the players off the field once there saw what Anderson was up against.

    If you read my earlier post I have usually found Canadian fans to be excellent either home or on the road and I still think that way today.

    Best of luck in the East, they may need all that beer in August. We will have our own problems in the Central then


  57. So Jays fans were throwing stuff on the field the entire game. No wonder why we lost. Toronto should of forfeited.

  58. ron,

    Excellent call on the balk, I think it should replace the wild pitch which might be too easy to achieve.

  59. Ron your right…… some of those shots were like torpedoes, the others were over their heads.

  60. Hey Toronto – looks like the drunk guy who wrote the post was since rescinded it, and the follow-up was overwhelmingly pro-Tigers (or anti-Jays fans). No need to respond.

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