No, it’s not April 1st. Jordan Zimmermann will be the Opening Day starter at Comerica Park on March 29.
While most fans (and writers) believed Michael Fulmer, the team’s de facto ace following Justin Verlander’s trade, would be the natural choice to get the nod on Opening Day, apparently manager Ron Gardenhire did not agree.
Following Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees, Gardenhire addressed the media and let them know his decision for the Opening Day starter. “Zimmermann’s the veteran guy here,” Gardenhire explained. “To me, he’s the leader of this group and I think he should have the ball.”
Evidently he knew this would come as a surprise to the group before him, because he assured them he wasn’t kidding.
I hereby retract all the times I wrote Michael Fulmer would *obviously* start Opening Day. Today's news was a surprise, to say the least. Gardenhire was even asked if he was joking. He said he wasn't.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) March 17, 2018
Gardenhire went on to say that he hadn’t really considered doing it any other way. “I never really thought too much about anybody other than him.”
The order of the remaining rotation has not yet been announced, and there are questions remaining about Mike Fiers and Daniel Norris, as to which one is more likely to make their way north with a starting pitcher’s job.
For now, we know with absolute certainty that Jordan Zimmermann will be the Tigers man on the mound for Opening Day.