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!!
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:
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Torii Hunter, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Andy Dirks, LF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Alex Avila, C
- Omar Infante, 2B
Today’s Seriously, We Have to Face Verlander in this Cold? Twins Lineup:
- Aaron Hicks, CF
- Joe Mauer, C
- Josh Willingham, LF
- Justin Morneau, 1B
- Ryan Doumit, DH
- Chris Parmalee, RF
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B
- Brian Dozier, 2B
- Pedro Florimon, SS