There's two more weeks until the Detroit Tigers head
north south to Miami to take on the Fighting Jeffrey Loria's, err, I mean the Marlins. However, given that I'm bored with spring training, I'm already looking forward to the moment when Jose Fernandez trots out to the mound to throw the first pitch of this soon-to-be glorious season.
Speaking of Fernandez, that Opening Day pitching matchup against Justin Verlander is going to make for one helluva pitchers' duel. Two aces out there both trying to get their respective clubs off to a good start for the season. Both considered strikeout artists, both with something to prove this year. Yes folks, strap in and tune in to Fox Sports Detroit to watch the magic happen, but remember, the filthiness you see might turn out to be NSFW.
Wait, what's that? You say Jose Fernandez isn't starting Opening Day for the Marlins? Well why the hell not? He's their ace, isn't he?
After an offseason where the Marlins routinely made headlines for supposedly putting Fernandez on the trading block, their new president of baseball operations, Mike Hill, affirmed that Fernandez is their guy. Unless he isn't. And he's not. At least not in Game 1.
Instead of Verlander vs. Fernandez, a pitching matchup that slightly resembles Super Fight where Rocky Balboa lasts 15 rounds with the reigning world champion in Apollo Creed, we'll get Verlander vs. Wei Yin Chen. That's nothing like Super Fight. Saying Verlander vs. Chen is more like Balboa vs. Clubber Lang is even a stretch. Instead, Verlander vs. Chen is more like Rocky vs. the random kid in Rocky V that no one remembers, but still wishes to forget.
Look, I know Chen is good. He has a career ERA of 3.72 and was worth nearly three wins last season. He's just not the marquee pitcher that Jose Fernandez is. Chen is a lefty that will be facing a heavy right-handed Tigers lineup. I'm not going to complain if Justin Upton hits a ball off that home run thing in left-center field, but as a baseball fan first and a Tigers fan second, I'd much rather watch a Verlander vs. Fernandez clash-of-the-titans' style pitching duel.
The Marlins claim that starting Fernandez in the second game of the season will allow him to have more days of rest. Yeah, yeah, blah blah blah, Tommy John recovery and all that good stuff. I understand, it makes perfect sense. Actually, it makes more sense than almost anything the Marlins do these days. Which begs the question, why start being sensible now? What harm could one more senseless decision do, especially if that decision results in two pitching juggernauts going at each other on a day that's basically a national holiday in this country?
Wait, they're opening the season on Tuesday instead, a day after almost everyone else?!
Oh well, at least we can look forward to Fernandez taking on Mike Pelfrey in the second game of the year. Because that's a matchup everyone is dying to see.