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:
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Guillen, DH
- Laird, C
- Inge, 3B
- Everett, SS
- 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.
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.