Game 2016.1: Tigers at Marlins

Happy Opening Day Everybody!

Miguel Cabrera carefully selects the bat the will bring to the plate, while across Marlins Park Dee Gordon does the same, in the much-anticipated, historic Opening Day meeting between league batting champions, for the first time in Major League Baseball history.

Thanks to ESPN for that one, I never would have guessed it on my own. Not that Opening Day should need any extra hooks to pull you in, but I must admit it’s a bit odd to start the season out with an interleague game, and on Tuesday at that. So much for every team starting the season in first place: the Tigers are already in third. Never mind though, the 2016 Tiger season is here. Play ball!

Of course, being an interleague game in a National League park, there is no designated hitter, so the Tigers will start the season with a not-everyday lineup. Originally, Brad Ausmus had planned to go with Cabrera at 3rd base and Victor Martinez at first, but a tweaked Martinez hamstring changed his mind on that.

After losing the honors to David Price last season, Justin Verlander will take the mound again in his 8th Opening Day start, as he edges into Jack Morris territory (Jack Morris has the franchise record with 11 Opening Day starts). If I weren’t afraid of heights I’d go out on a limb here, but I’ll settle for throwing out a hunch that this season Verlander will show that he’s not quite done yet. New manager Don Mattingly gives Wei-Yin Chen the honors for the Marlins, and will start off with a challenge—Ian Kinsler has a career 1.045 OPS against Chen.

Tonight’s 2016 Opening Day lineup:

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Justin Upton, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. JD Martinez, RF
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. James McCann, C
  7. Jose Iglesias, SS
  8. Anthony Gose, CF
  9. Justin Verlander, P

I’m mildly surprised to see Kinsler in the leadoff spot in the lineup, I would have predicted Gose. Is Ausmus taking advantage of the Kinsler-Chen history?


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  3. PHT in HK

    April 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Hello everyone! What is with the delay?

    • Coleman

      April 5, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Some kind of Opening Day ceremony stuff, first pitch is about to happen.

  4. Angus

    April 5, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Ian answers the big hit by JV.

  5. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    April 5, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Must be the first 11 games of the season? Well done Ian!

  6. Tom B

    April 5, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    1st test for the revamped blow pen. On the edge of my seat…

  7. Kevin in Dallas

    April 5, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I think all three Verlander hits came on 1-2 counts.

  8. Coleman

    April 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    And Anthony Gose long!

  9. Tom B

    April 5, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Anthony – STATE FARM – Gose!

  10. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Just walked in the house from work to see Gose go yard!!!..All State time!

  11. Tom B

    April 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Victor – AAA – Martinez

  12. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    And Victor!…I shudda got here sooner!

  13. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    April 5, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Mr. Upton….you are awesome!

  14. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Upton!!!…wow!…those add on runs might be important yet!

  15. Coleman

    April 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    SOB! (Same Old Bullpen)

  16. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    April 5, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Is that Joe Nathan out there?

  17. Tom B

    April 5, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    I thought the Tigers cut Joe Nathan loose? Well, at least he got a good tan in spring training … He still blows as a closer.

  18. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Hell this is 82 mph batting practice….I don’t get it.. .why is he still in there Brad!!!!!!!!!

  19. PHToy in HK

    April 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    How long is Nathan Jr. signed for?

  20. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Hey Brad….great work so far..even the ball to Upton was a bomb…that made 5 bombs that inning!!!!…

  21. StorminNorman$

    April 5, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    i’ve seen this movie before, its called Blowpen… don’t like the ending.

  22. Kevin in Dallas

    April 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Fn A.


    April 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    We are in big trouble if this is our closer!

  24. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    We talked about this all winter…the weak link is still Assmus decision making….leaves Franco in there to get shelled!!!

  25. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    JD doesn’t tag up there…coaching again!

  26. Coleman

    April 5, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    SOB! (Same Old Baserunning).

  27. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    And the worst baserunning team in all of baseball, including Little League strikes again….is this still 2015….

  28. Tom B

    April 5, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Let’s see: Blow pen gives up 3 run lead in the 9th — check. Crappy base running ends an inning — check. Yep, BA has the squad right back on track. Double D must be laughing.

    • Jud

      April 5, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      +1…and 1/11 RISP..another BA mainstay!

  29. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Avilles +1

    • Coleman

      April 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      And…picked off of first.

  30. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Kinsler picked off for the 1000000 time..check!

  31. Tom B

    April 5, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    can’t wait to hear BA tell us that everything is cool.

  32. Jud

    April 5, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    There are no bad wins…however I am still in shock over the “same old crap”….I will give Brad +1 for bunting Aviles… to go with his -4 for the game!

  33. Tony de Florida

    April 5, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    *JV gets screwed out of his first win this year!
    *FRod fails in his first appearance! My question is: Does the formula HAVE TO BE FOLLOWED no matter what? Why not let Lowe start the 9th with a 3 run lead? Can we pull the closer if he looks like crap?
    *Whatever chance we had going in the top of the 10th (3 walks) we killed with an unbelievable base running blunder by Iggy! What are we thinking?
    *VerHagen looked sharp after giving up a bleeder ground ball single in 10th.
    *Greene looks ready for his first start this year!

    • PHToy in HK

      April 5, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      I vote for FRod – pronounced fraud – to be name of the “closer” for the rest of the season.

  34. Kevin in Dallas

    April 5, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Well, it’s a win.

  35. Jud

    April 6, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Lobster picks up a win for the Pirates…good day..if you bet Greene a save and Lobstein a win …you might have won a bundle!

  36. Jim EggersUSMC

    April 6, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Free baseball right out of the box, the blowpen/baserunning/bad managing is a sequel, and sequels always suck…. I’m a little steamed tonight; watching the game on MLB with the Marlins broadcasters, I realize my old friend, Tommy Hutton from his 4 years here in Spokane is no longer in the booth. Google has a couple of articles about the deal, he was fired for get this, being too honest! “Hutto” was always a fun guy to be around. He treated all of us young clubbies, batboys, and grounds crew as human beings, and I was lucky enough to see him when the Marlins were in Seattle 4 years ago. It was like we had just seen each other a couple of weeks ago, the old stories and all, and I am sad to see him go. Well, that’s baseball, right?

  37. StorminNorman$

    April 6, 2016 at 8:25 am

    i promise not ‘read a lot into just one game’…and a W, no less… but pretty tough for any fan who’s followed DET to ignore the deja vu, and not to focus on some very familiar concerns (“the long-in-the-tooth closer”, bad/questionable base running & bullpen mngmt).

    one has to wonder if Ausmus thinks there’s a MLB rule that restricts managers from using a relief pitcher for more than one inning – as well as another rule that requires a team to strictly adhere to the assigned roles of all relief pitchers (i.e., 7th-inning guy, 8th…closer-guy, etc)

    1 down 161 to go – a new day, and a new game – today’s against a much more formidable pitcher – where hits & runs will likely be tougher to come by… so pitching & defense should carry the day…right?

  38. Angus

    April 6, 2016 at 8:34 am

    A win is a win but Gibby must have been downing the Jack Daniels (Like Bob Uecker) watching that baserunning. Why do all of our closers blow up and cause you to drink? That goes at least back to Jonesy.

  39. Tony de Florida

    April 6, 2016 at 10:23 am

    It was almost a replay of last year except that ONLY the closer failed, not everyone from the pen. And, we did win. Even Brad may learn how to better manage the pen. Meanwhile, we are 1-0 instead of 0-1. Today will not be as easy. The biggest issue will be how Anibal pitches, even if he ends up losing to their ace.

    It appears some of you are looking for perfection from this team. Good luck with that. I will give FRod a pass for a poor performance but not Brad for standing around while he was being shelled. The base running I can’t explain except that it seems the coaches should have influenced both JD and Iggy on how they handled their blunders.

  40. Only Tiger Fan in Mississippi

    April 6, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Maybe we need Shane Green as the closer?

    • StorminNorman$

      April 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      …or maybe Ausmus could simply bring in the best available pitcher for the given situation… which many times might mean bringing back the guy who mowed down opposing hitters in the 8th inning on <20 pitches.

      I think the current prevailing "closer" mentality is a self-perpetuating myth… OK, it might be an effective strategy for the few teams that actually have a dependable/lights-out closer, but for the many teams that do not, its just bad (hope and pray) strategy.

      Another thing to also consider is what benefit is gained by a team that saves their 'lights out' closer for only fresh-start 9th inning game situations where their team has a 1-3 run lead? …I guess those 2 or 3 or more runs the 'non-closer/lesser relief pitcher(s)' give up in the 6th – 8th innings are an acceptable trade-off in order to preserve your "closer" for that very select game situation.