Game 2013.1: Tigers at Twins

For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

Once the turtle has had his say he is likely to duck back into his shell, and wait out the cold Minnesota winds there. But winter weather or not, it is still Opening Day, which should warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere. Let’s Play Ball!!

Series Summary:

Mon Apr 1 4:10 pm: Verlander vs. Worley

Wed Apr 3 4:10 pm: Sanchez vs. Correia

Thurs Apr 4: 1:10 pm: Porcello vs. Pelfrey

Well, this looks to be a cold one (game time temperature is predicted to be 34, and that is before wind chill is figured in), so let’s get this out of the way now:  don’t worry, the Tigers will start hitting once the temperatures warm up.  There does seem to be a slight advantage to the pitchers in colder weather (slight).  Here are the average OPS numbers by month:

  • April .727
  • May .731
  • June .734
  • July .737
  • Aug .734
  • Sept/Oct .723

This particular Twins pitcher, Vance Worley, has the added advantage of being unfamiliar to the Tiger hitters: only 2 Tigers have faced him before, Prince Fielder (1-for-3) and Omar Infante (0-for-6). And I’m sure the Twins hitters wish they had never faced Justin Verlander before. Joe Mauer is the exception, who is a career .351 against Verlander (although it should be mentioned he was 0-for-6 last season).

Speaking of Verlander, his new contract carries a $22 million vesting option for 2020–and the deciding vesting clause is how he finishes in the 2019 Cy Young voting. If he makes the top 5, the contract vests. This could make for a rather uniquely suspenseful Cy Young vote

Today’s fun fact: today will be the first opening day in Target Field history.

Today’s Player of the Pre-game:  Torii Hunter. Torii returns to the city (if not the stadium) of his heyday, and tries to start up a little Ducks on the Pond (or Ice).

Today’s Defending AL Champions Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Torii Hunter, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Andy Dirks, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Omar Infante, 2B

Today’s Seriously, We Have to Face Verlander in this Cold? Twins Lineup:

  1. Aaron Hicks, CF
  2. Joe Mauer, C
  3. Josh Willingham, LF
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Ryan Doumit, DH
  6. Chris Parmalee, RF
  7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
  8. Brian Dozier, 2B
  9. Pedro Florimon, SS

34 Comments

  1. Steve

    April 1, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Sweet,…………. now “Play Ball”

  2. Kevin in Dallas

    April 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    My buddy who is a big Twins fan texted and asked if this was the most lopsided opening day matchup in history. He then followed it up with “I miss Brad Radke.”

  3. Coleman

    April 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    The cold doesn’t seem to bothering them.

  4. Vince in MN

    April 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Interesting pitch selection by Verlander so far. After two innings, 35 pitches but only 7 of them fastballs. Mostly changeups with a few sliders and curves.

  5. Vince in MN

    April 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I think having Hunter as our No. 2 hitter is going to be OK. Better than Gerald Laird hitting there anyway.

  6. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    hi everyone..welcome to 2013
    Lets see we get Hunter and Martinez in the batting order in place og Raburn and Young….hmmmm this must be Iowa!

  7. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    plus Brookens at third should be worth 30 runs and 25 less outs

  8. Mark

    April 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Raburn made the team in Cleveland. We will probably be seeing him again this year.

  9. Kevin in Dallas

    April 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    This is where I’d like to see Benoit or Dotel. This could be the most high pressure situation of the game.

    • Kevin in Dallas

      April 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Then you let them go 1 more inning. One day a manager will see that.

  10. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    with this great line up I did forget they are being managed by Jim “i know nothing about pitching” Leyland….that inning reminded me….my bad!

  11. Vince in MN

    April 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Could someone please wake the offense up. And slap Leyland a couple of times for me while you are at it.

  12. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    doe anyone actually wonder how Leyland could be ranked first in managerial LOSSES among active and most retired managers???

    • habry

      April 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      if you notice how mant years he has managed you should be able to add all those years together and see that he has lost more game than any manager.

      • The Strategy Expert

        April 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

        He’s +17 after 3,342 games.

        • Vince in MN

          April 10, 2013 at 3:57 pm

          Leyland’s contributions to the science of baseball cannot be judged on the basis of such an insignificantly mundane measure as won/lost records. Pure Genius is held to a much higher account, one which is unfortunately well beyond the conception of 99.9% of baseball fans. Those of us belonging to that lowly group should just trust in the judgements of the Illuminati (e.g. sportswriters), who by Virtue of their privileged access are in a position to reliably inform us of all we need to know.

          • Coleman

            April 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm

            You need to think about things like how many guys he “got going,” how many guys have “run into one” on his watch.

            • Vince in MN

              April 10, 2013 at 5:22 pm

              Yes, the intangible factor – E=if squared.

  13. Vince in MN

    April 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    During the post-game show, when asked why he left Smily, who was having control problems (42 pitches, 24 balls), in so long, Leyland responded “He’s my long man.”

  14. Bill

    April 1, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Well the bullpen is obviously tired. He had to leave Smily in to eat up innings. Must have been a very competitive spring training!

  15. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    hey Mumbles Al Al could have done that 5 batters ago

  16. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Avila the one remaining ” black hole” in the line up

    • Vince in MN

      April 1, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      In the interests of winning a ballgame, Avila being a platoon catcher, unfit to bat vs.LH pitching, I would have pinch hit for him there.

  17. Vince in MN

    April 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    We were lucky with the wild pitches last year too.

  18. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    didn’t we lead the league in those backstop runs last year… Tiger rally…yea

  19. Kevin in Dallas

    April 1, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Better weather and JV pitches into the 7th or 8th.

  20. Vince in MN

    April 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Leyland is peeing in his pants because he doesn’t have a closer.

  21. Bill

    April 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Who needs a full time closer!? We have COKE!!

  22. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    and with Avila up bases loaded , one out Leyland would never ever ever ever PH for Avila…Mumbmles is consistent to a fault that way!

  23. judpma

    April 1, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    nice 8th and 9th…good to see playoff Coke still pitching in the playoff mode!!!

  24. Smoking Loon

    April 2, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Let’s consider being a little more even-handed in the critique of Leyland game strategy department. Consider this a defense of fairness rather than a defense of Leyland. Yes, a bit odd to bring Smyly back out for the 7th after the nerve-wracking 6th. On the other hand:

    Hit and run. Result: Run scored.
    Stolen base. Result: Run scored.
    Sacrifice bunt: Result: Run scored.

    • Jim Eggers USMC Rifle Expert1971

      April 2, 2013 at 2:28 am

      “get on get over get in… small ball has its place, even with the big bats in the Tigers lineup…. magic#=161

    • Vince in MN

      April 2, 2013 at 8:35 am

      Agreed. Give the blind squirrel credit for finding a nut once in a while.

      • Smoking Loon

        April 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm

        Actually, Leyland admits the hit and run was all Hunter reacting. So give him credit for not taking credit.

        My notes after the game (it’s not that I’m that fascinated with the game strategies of managers, but I know it’s a topic that often comes up here, so I’ve decided to track it to some extent):

        TIGERS 1ST – Hit and run with Hunter up a success…Martinez called out on a high strike.
        TWINS 1ST – Cabrera error was ball transfer.
        TIGERS 2ND – Peralta SB (bad Mauer throw) a strategy success as Infante follows with RBI single…Avila’s baserunning 2nd-3rd distracts Florimon on error.
        TWINS 2ND
        TIGERS 3RD – Hustle double by Hunter with headfirst slide barely beating throw from RF after Parmalee briefly lost ball on tough-play fly single…Great play by Florimon on Cabrera grounder.
        TWINS 3RD
        TIGERS 4th – Peralta misses fly double down RF line by 2 feet… Up with bases loaded, Hunter chases high 2nd pitch, in 0-2 hole, sets up failure to break game open.
        TWINS 4TH
        TIGERS 5TH
        TWINS 5TH
        TIGERS 6TH
        TWINS 6TH – Great scoop of Peralta’s bouncing throw by Fielder on Ramirez AB bails Smyly out of bad inning.
        TIGERS 7th – Fien very sharp in striking out Tigers 1-2-3 hitters.
        TWINS 7th – Why shaky Smyly back out for this inning?… Alburquerque allows 1 inherited runner in bases loaded situation, looks good otherwise but is helped by Parmalee chasing dirt ball for K.
        TIGERS 8TH – Good sac bunt to 3B side by Dirks – strategy will pay off!…Great read, break, and slide by Fielder to score on WP.
        TWINS 8th – Ranging to right, nice grab by Fielder for 3-1 on Escobar’s grounder…Fast run to LF corner by Dirks to catch Morneau’s fly off Benoit for 3rd out.
        TIGERS 9th – Very poor AB by Cabrera on 3-pitch swinging K.
        TWINS 9th – Crisp outing for Coke, good breaking ball.

        Verlander better than strike ratio would indicate… Don’t like Avila ABs as I didn’t in ST, where he struck out a lot…Twins’ rookie Hicks didn’t look awful against Verlander in 3 Ks, just overmatched…See-your-breath cold at game time.

        PLAYER OF THE GAME: PRINCE FIELDER
        HONORABLE MENTIONS: VERLANDER, COKE, MAUER, FIEN
        NOT SO GOOD: SMYLY, CABRERA, PARMALEE