It was a beautiful sunny day as the Tigers took the field at Joker Marchant Stadium for their annual exhibition game. For the Detroit Tigers it was a diamond dozen victory. For Detroit's yearly rival however, the Florida Southern Moccasins, it was a humiliating defeat.
The approach Tigers manager Brad Ausmus took both offensively and defensively proved to be every bit as solid as it was dazzling. His penchant for base-running proved to be a useful tool to take advantage of over a dozen opportunities to score.
As a result, Florida Southern was held to a measly three hits across nine innings. Meanwhile, 12 of the 13 hits produced by the Tigers reached home plate.
Florida Southern never had a chance. The Tigers scored in every inning except the first two while committing no errors. There was no need for extra innings, no dramatic closer to save the day.
Both teams enduced 1-2-3 innings for the first two innings of the game but it was all downhill from there for the Florida Southern Moccasins.
Four of the runs knocked in belong to right fielder Steven Moya. The first point of the game was in part due to the quick base-running skills of short stop Jose Iglesias who initially advanced from first to third after a double by short stop/second baseman Steve Lombardozzi.
Moya also had his first triple of the season which proved to be the fifth inning catalyst. The Detroit Tigers scored three runs before accumulating two outs and altogether five runners reached home base, bringing the score to 8-0.
Left fielder Tyler Collins, the only Tiger to have three at-bats, reached base on every occasion, knocking in a run. Center fielder Daniel Fields sent a ball to right field in the fourth inning, producing the first home run of spring training. Designated hitter Eugenio Suarez later homered in the eighth to left field, making the score 12-0.
Drew VerHagen got the Tigers started, pitching two quick 1-2-3 innings. Two of the opposing batters struck out looking and the batters who put the ball in play fizzled into two groundouts, a pop-up and a flyout. Of those four, two were fielded by third baseman Nick Castellanos.
Pitcher Robbie Ray smoked five of the six batters he faced while the lone batter who managed to double was picked off while attempting to steal third base. Four of the five batters he struck out went down swinging. In 17 pitches, only one was called a ball.
Third baseman Nick Castellanos lived up to everyone's expectations. He fielded balls with ease and picked off the unfortunate runner going for third base. He was noted by reporters as appearing relaxed and his quick reflexes at third base reflected that.
Wednesday the Detroit Tigers will travel to Champion Stadium located in the heart of Disney World to face the Atlanta Braves for the first official game of spring training.
The starting lineup for Wednesday's game is as follows:
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Rajai Davis, LF
3. Victor Martinez, DH
4. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
5. Don Kelly, RF
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
7. Daniel Fields, CF
8. Bryan Holaday, C
9. Steve Lombardozzi, SS
Drew Smyly will be the starting pitcher.