Pregame 1: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers

(Read Kevin’s “Realism” first. It’s better, especially when you consider that he wrote it without looking, not even once. I am continually amazed by touch-typists. How do they do it? I’m all hunt and peck.)

Here we go! The next “Play Ball!” and the 114th season of Detroit Tigers baseball will commence. The last 29 have gone by without a World Series championship, and yet we find ourselves in something of a Golden Age: Only 3 losing seasons over the past 10 (and only 1 over the past 8), 2 World Series appearances in that span of time, and ownership of the AL Central from 2011 to the present day, not to mention 3 consecutive ALCS appearances. Despite a new manager (and a rookie manager at that) at the helm, a new approach (particularly on the offensive side), and a fair amount of turnover in personnel, it is safe to say that most of us will be disappointed if the Tigers don’t at least advance to the ALCS come October. Pessimist and optimist alike. The reason is spelled s-t-a-r-t-i-n-g r-o-t-a-t-i-o-n.

This season’s quest begins at home against the Kansas City Royals. That’s got to mean Shields vs. Verlander, and it does. Tigers-Royals made for a challenging and interesting rivalry last season. Detroit has become a bit more like KC, perhaps, while the Royals have countered by snagging Omar Infante, the only Tiger who could hit the Royals in 2013.

The last time the Tigers faced the Royals on Opening Day, Zach Greinke outpitched an ineffective Justin Verlander, but the hapless KC bullpen collapsed and the Tigers exploded for 6 runs in the 7th inning on their way to the 8-4 victory. Joel Zumaya picked up the win for his 1+ inning of work. I remember it well.

OK, we know who The 25 are now. Any votes of “no confidence”? Mine would have to go to Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Alex Gonzalez, and Alex Avila’s hitting. But they are Tigers, so this can only mean “show me.” Not looking forward to any I-told-you-so’s.

Watch the game, listen to the game, follow the game. Let’s see some reaction here. Valuable prizes await you for “Post of the Game.”

25 Comments

  1. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    March 31, 2014 at 9:43 am

    My Opening Day 2014 Schedule (When normality returns to America!)
    (My 48th Season as a Detroit Tiger Fan)
    Kansas City Royals v. Detroit Tigers
    (James Shields v. Justin Verlander)

    All times CDT:

    1100: Departs work for home
    1115: Begin cooking brats for Clarke, Reine, and Ray visit
    1130: Tigers will celebrate their 2013 American League Central Division Championship by raising a commemorative flag in center field.
    1140: Dan and Jim on the Air via WXYT and MLB audio
    1145: The national anthem sung by legendary R&B artist, Brian McKnight. The Michigan Joint Honor Guard will present colors and a 300-foot American Flag will be presented in the outfield during the singing of the national anthem.
    1150: Game Ball Delivery: The Game Ball will be delivered by Master Sergeant Michael Miller of the United States Air Force from Shelby Township, Mich.
    1152: 1984 World Series Champion Chet Lemon (it’s been 30 years!) will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
    1200: Mario and Rod on the air via MLB Direct TV
    1208: First pitch of the 2014 season by Justin Verlander
    During the seventh inning stretch, Amy Gould of the 126th Army Band will sing God Bless America.
    1400: Allow Clarke to watch snippets of Red Sox v. Orioles Opening Day game

    My 2014 Predictions

    AL Wild Cards: New York over Kansas City
    NL Wild Cards: Los Angeles over Washington
    ALDS:
    Detroit over New York (standard Tigers over Yankees playoff beating)
    Boston over Oakland
    NLDS:
    Los Angeles over Atlanta
    San Francisco over St. Louis
    ALCS: Detroit over Boston (payback from 2013!)
    NLCS: San Francisco over Los Angeles
    World Series: Detroit over San Francisco in 6 games (payback from 2012!)

    As you can see, the playoffs will avenge the Tigers losses over both Boston and SF. What a year!

    Enjoy the season and I look forward to all on the DTW!

    Always a Tiger!

  2. Coleman

    March 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Opening Day Lineup:

    1. Kinsler, 2B
    2. Hunter, RF
    3. Cabrera, 1B
    4. Martinez, DH
    5. Jackson, DF
    6. Avila, C
    7. Castellanos, 3B
    8. Gonzalez, SS
    9. Davis, LF

    Tigers P: Justin Verlander (RHP)
    Royals P: James Shields (RHP)

    (Shields actually gets hit more by RHB than lefties, which may be way Davis gets the LF slot today).

  3. jud

    March 31, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    PLAY BALL!!!!

  4. TIGERS RULE

    March 31, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    The clown show has already started!

  5. jud

    March 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    At least Gonzalez looks like he can still play..

  6. judpma

    March 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Atta Victor!!!

  7. TIGERS RULE

    March 31, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    More clown show!

  8. judpma

    March 31, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    I take that back about Gonzalez…Iggy and Worth would have made both of those plays..the single to his right and the error

  9. jud

    March 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Unfortunately JV very 2013 regular season so far. Not sharp…high pitch count!

  10. TIGERS RULE

    March 31, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    New season ….. same old same old.

  11. jud

    March 31, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Jackson and Avila…uggggh!

  12. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    March 31, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    The Tigers’ defense has not helped JV’s pitch count.

  13. jud

    March 31, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Hey Castellanos we teach our high school players to find the fence and then find the ball…beyond a rookie mistake..u just start playing?

  14. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    March 31, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I wonder how many go-to-replay calls the Tigers will participate in and how many will go the Tigers’ way? Looks like we can have a whole new series of stats this season. However shouldn’t it be around 50/50 for and against?

  15. judpma

    March 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Good inning AlAl..like its supposed to go..lets get a run now!

  16. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    March 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Of the 6 opening day currently underway, 5 are presently tied.

  17. Vince in MN

    March 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    In the old days they would have had a pitcher pinch-run for Avila. Jim Kaat comes to mind. Of course he even pinch-hit from time to time as well.

  18. Vince in MN

    March 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Nice come from behind win. DD is a genius.

  19. TIGERS RULE

    March 31, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Nice comeback!

  20. judpma

    March 31, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Gonzo…hell ya!!!!!

  21. jud

    March 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Bullpen +1
    beat KC bullpen +1
    beat the team we need to beat+1
    Rookie manager 1-0….+1
    DD…+1
    Phil Coke..0.00 era….+1

  22. StorminNorman$

    March 31, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    nice to see the new guys (Gonzo, Castellanos & Nathan) contribute already… 1 down and only 93 more to go (regular season anyway).

  23. Jim EggersUSMC

    March 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Gonzo for President!! (He’s old enough!!)

  24. Coleman

    March 31, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    The Curse of Kinsler! Rangers on their way to 0-162

  25. Kevin in Dallas

    April 1, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Three things I liked:
    1) Opening Day.
    2) Joe Nathan.
    3) A win going into an off-day.

    Three things I didn’t like.
    1) The defense. It drove up JV’s pitch count. Without the misplayed balls he goes 7. Really lazy out there, hopefully it’s not an indication of the sentiments in the locker room.
    2) Castellanos giving up on that foul ball. Weak effort and not a good way to ingratiate yourself to the staff.
    3) JV. 1.50 WHIP. Though he did get squeezed on one of the walks (can’t remember who, I think it was the 2nd walk).

    And a bonus don’t like – the off day after opening day. Hate it.