The Tigers are going to keep it interesting this season.
Hoooboy, what a rollercoaster. You couldn’t ask for a more turbulent Opening Day for the Tigers. The game, delayed one day because of weather, was a 40,000+ sell out for Detroit. While things were on the brisk side with a 37 degree temperature at the time of the first pitch, the game moved along at a nice pace, so it never felt like fans were stuck shivering for 50-pitch innings.
Things started out solid for Detroit with the Tigers taking an early two-run lead in the second inning. The Pirates then took a two run lead, quieting Tigers fans somewhat, as they wondered if Jordan Zimmermann’s fine season debut might be marred by some bad luck. In the bottom of the seventh the Tigers proved their offense wasn’t going to fall asleep on Opening Day as they rushed back to take a 6-4 lead once again.
The Tigers, in bullpen mode, gave up a run in the eighth, keeping the lead tight, and then, again, we were tied.
Tigers closer Shane Greene came in for the ninth to try and keep things tied up, but luck wasn’t on his side as the Pirates soon surged ahead to a 7-6 lead. Then a passed ball resulted in an 8-6 lead. So, you know, things were going well. Greene wouldn’t make it through the inning.
Joe Jimenez came on next and his control was off, lots of balls way off the plate. Then an overthrown toss to first resulted in two runs to score. 10-6. Woof. Pirates reliever Felipe Rivero had a rough bottom of the ninth and a lucky double from McCann scored two runs, because omg why not at this point?
IT GETS CRAZIER. Rivero had two men on base before getting pulled, and then Dixon Machado hits 2 RBI double, tying the game 10-10. Aaaaand we’re off to extra innings.
14 of the 20 runs in this game scored after the 7th-inning stretch.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) March 30, 2018
Iglesias and McCann teamed up for a nice tagout at second, redeeming McCann’s earlier difficulties somewhat. JaCoby Jones is the game’s hero, hitting a single that scored Castellanos from second. THE TIGERS WIN IT IN TEN.... BUT WAIT NOPE. Pirates review the call, it’s overturned, then manager Ron Gardenhire is ejected from the game for (rightly) arguing.
Hello, welcome to my personal hell, where this recap will end up being 1500 words.
Onto the 11th.
Onto the 12th.
Brb gonna make a drink since it’s basically Happy Hour now.
Onto the 13th.
I was about to complement Alex Wilson’s relief appearance (which was VERY good over multiple innings) but he was clearly fading, and finally imploded, giving up a 3-run home run to Gregory Polanco.
The Tigers were unable to rally back in the bottom of the 13th, so after five-plus hours, the Pirates were the winners. Except for, you know, how the Tigers actually won it in the tenth. But here we are.
Double-Double-Double! Mikie Mahtook hustled on a really ugly looking double in the bottom of the second (got hit in the face with his own helmet and took a mouthful of dirt in the process) but the hustle paid off when Jose Iglesias netted the team’s first RBI of the season with a run-scoring double. Dixon Machado was like “I’ll show you bottom 3!” and hit his own double, scoring Iglesias.
Jordan Zimmermann, after a lead-off double, settled into the groove early and looked sensational. He ended up having a better day than he has had in almost two years. His end-of-day line was 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 K which proved to be a solid outing.
Tigers won their first challenge of the year (and Gardenhire’s first with the Tigers) in a quick 47-second review of a tag by Zimmermann on first (his toe was clearly on the bag, so the review was correct to overturn).
Miguel Cabrera tied things up in the seventh with an incredible double to the right field corner that scored two runs. Dave Clark the third base coach almost windmilled his arm off signalling the runners home. Cabrera then scored the go-ahead run on a Castellanos single.
If you’re an MLB.tv viewer, a new perk is that they’re actually showing the little FSD interview clips where Tigers players discuss their outlook for the season. It’s a nice way to break up games, and it’s nice to see that the players are realistic about the season but optimistic about the rebuild.
Warwick Saupold was the lone bright point in the bullpen, making a scoreless appearance.
Zimmermann’s early dominance seemed to waiver in the fourth inning as he allowed 4 hits and then a looooong double scored two runs, giving the Pirates the lead.
First error of the season goes to James McCann with an overthrow to second trying to throw out a runner. Had he made the throw it would have been great. But he didn’t. So it wasn’t. (He made up for it a few batters later, so no hard feelings). McCann also had an error, passed ball, catcher interference. (But also scored two runs in the ninth)
Drew VerHagen's first day as apparent 8th inning set-up man was short: He gives up single to Adam Frazier, then walk to Josh Harrison. Daniel Stumpf enters to face lefty Gregory Polanco.— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) March 30, 2018
Home plate umpire Mike Everitt proved to be the first injury of the Tigers season for new head athletic trainer Doug Teter, taking a nasty pitch off the mask that ended his day behind the dish. (Former head trainer Kevin Rand is still with the Tigers serving a new role down in Lakeland, closer to home)
Two different bases loaded situations in which the TTBDNS. Typical, but so disappointing, because with as rusty as Ivan Nova looked the Tigers really SHOULD have been able to take advantage. Had either of these situations yielded runs, things would have gone very differently in this game.
The Tigers bullpen is definitely still the Tigers bullpen. Rod Allen tried to be polite about it, saying, “It’s tough to pitch late in games.” Which sort of ignores that that’s literally a bullpen pitcher’s job.
Nicholas Castellanos didn’t have a great ninth in right field, missing a catch that provided the Pirates their go-ahead run, and ultimately the game win.
The top of the ninth inning really was just a nightmare.
Who was the Tigers’ Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Jordan Zimmermann (6 IP, 8 K)
Miguel Cabrera (2 H, 1 BB, 2 RBI)
Dixon Machado (Game-tying 2 RBI double)
JaCoby Jones (almost go-ahead game-winning single)