There’s a good chance the Tigers aren’t going to be as bad as the first three games might have lead us to believe. The Tigers looked cold today, bundled up against the bracing Detroit chill, but they came to play and made the most of their scoring opportunities. After briefly giving up a 1-0 lead to the Royals on a Drew Butera RBI in the third inning, the Tigers quickly bit back, with a Cabrera RBI later that same inning.
Things only got better in the fifth where scored four runs scored (one aided by a pretty sloppy bobble at second by Whit Merrifield). In one inning Martinez, McCann, and Castellanos all collected RBIs. It was the kind of inning where you feel like anything is possible and your team can’t be stopped. It was a combination of skilled plate discipline and luck, and the kind of baseball that is just plain fun to watch.
Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano, in his Tigers debut, looked good for the most part with a few errant pitches well out of the zone, but none coming with runners on base. He kept the hits low, the walks down, had a fastball touched 94, and he only gave up one run to the Royals. All in all a great first game for Francisco who left in the seventh inning to a warm standing ovation from Tigers fans. His final line for the day was 94 pitches, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R,1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K. Lefties hit nada against him. Of the two starters the Tigers picked up this offseason, Liriano could be shaping up to be a great addition.
Rod Allen would like to remind us that the Tigers have first pick in the draft, and his insight it that the Tigers will be looking for a Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, or Michael Fulmer-type. In case you weren’t sure if the team would be hoping to sign someone who was really, really good.
Joe Jimenez came in for the seventh inning to relieve Liriano, and certainly made catcher James McCann work the plate, chasing some fairly wild pitches. Thankfully he was able to get out the batter with no damage done.
A few takeaways from general observation: Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez look great. Cabrera in particular was out on the field looking like a man in love with the sport again. Big smiles, lots of hustle, great hits. Martinez, likewise, had some strong at-bats, and a gasp double. Considering the Tigers will need their veterans in top condition this season, it’s really promising to see these guys looking so good.
Nicholas Castellanos managed a mammoth triple in the bottom on the seventh thanks to Jon Jay bobbling a catch down the first base line. James McCann also dribbled a single between the shortstop and third baseman... somehow. This game is tremendous.
Let’s circle back to Castellanos again for a second, because this happened.
Guys, we may have found the secret to Nick Castellanos' hot start... pic.twitter.com/eTQMoQqgS2— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 2, 2018
The FSD crew also took a break to devour some Nutella egg rolls and show a slow motion video of Johnny Kane eating a donut ice cream sandwich. I missed live baseball broadcasts so much.
Daniel Stumpf relieved Jimenez for a lefty vs lefty combo against Jon Jay, and Stumpf was triumphant. Warwick Saupold came on in the ninth to finish off the Royals. All said Tigers relievers held their own, giving up no further runs and looking much better today than they did during the season opener.
The game ALMOST ended with what would have been an absolutely sensational double-play featuring some quick hands by Niko Goodrum and Dixon Machado. I don’t want to get too excited about these two, but they could be pretty fun together in the coming years. Of course the play went to a review, and you could tell manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t thrilled about another game win being lost to a review. Oh well. The game ended a batter later and all was well.
The losing streak is over! Tigers win!
Who was the Tigers player of the game?
This poll is closed
Francisco Liriano (6.2 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K)
Victor Martinez (2 H, 3 RBI)
Nicholas Castellanos (2 H, 2 R, 1 RBI, triple)
Miguel Cabrera (1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI)