So let's try to think of tonight as a do-over Opening Day. I realize that doesn't quite work. The five games the Tigers have already lost count in the standings, and this contest will be played under the lights (the first night game for Detroit this season). But with Justin Verlander starting for the home team and the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew shining a national spotlight onto Comerica Park, tonight's game has the trappings of something special.
Of course, it would be nice if the Tigers didn't carry that "only winless team in the majors" distinction into the game, and that will surely come up more than a few times during the broadcast jibber-jabber between Jon Miller and Joe Morgan. No one expected this kind of start leading up to a national showcase. But as the kids like to say these days, it is what it is, and the Tigers will have to see about getting that first win of the season tonight.
Mark Buehrle was brutal in his Opening Day start against the Indians, giving up seven runs on seven hits (including two home runs) in just 1 2/3 innings. Amazingly, he didn't take the loss. And he was mediocre in three appearances against the Tigers last year, posting a 1-1 record and 4.64 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. Most of that damage occurred in one game, however.
Gary Sheffield returns to the lineup tonight, but Placido Polanco will sit out with a stiff lower back. Was sending Ryan Raburn back down to Toledo really the right decision? Maybe it doesn't matter, since Raburn hasn't played much second base, anyway.