Yesterday, in front of an Opening Day crowd, the Tigers brought out the big bats and pounded some Texas pitching. Can they keep the good times rolling today, in front of a perhaps less festive crowd (though it will surely be the first game of the season for plenty in the stands), but one no less enthusiastic? (The weather forecast says it's going to be a pleasant day at the ballpark.)
So would you have guessed that after the first five games of the season, and a full turn through the Detroit Tigers' starting rotation, that Justin Verlander was the one who turned in the stinker? Yet there it is. In every other game so far, the starting pitcher gave the Tigers a chance to win.
If he's putting too much pressure on himself to be The Guy, as Jim Leyland suggests, then maybe he'll relax a bit without the harsh glare of that very first game. Also helping him to chill out might be his career record versus Texas. In five starts against the Rangers, Verlander has a 4-1 record and 2.30 ERA.
In his rookie season, Matt Harrison went 9-3 in 15 starts last year, for the best winning percentage (.750) among the Texas pitching staff. On the road, the left-hander posted a 4-1 record and 4.70 ERA. This will be the first time he's faced the Tigers and one Mr. Miguel Cabrera.