Monday night in Detroit felt very full-circle to many fans of the Detroit Tigers. With Justin Verlander making his first start back in his old home park since being traded to Houston, feelings were running high. Just over a year since his departure, Verlander’s return felt like the end of a year-long period of mourning over an era of Tigers baseball that delighted for so long, but ultimately ended in failure.
The theme continued with a notable first during the game. Christin Stewart, the Tigers’ sixth ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, made his starting debut in left field. The first legitimate prospect bat to arrive from the farm system since Nick Castellanos debuted in late 2013, Stewart represented the future, while Verlander signified the past. In one battle, at least, the future won out.
With a runner on first in the sixth inning, Stewart sat back on a nasty 1-2 curveball that hung up over the outside of the plate, and smoked it under the glove of a sliding Jose Altuve for a solid single.
That’s a ball that young Mr. Stewart and his family, who were in attendance, will cherish for many years to come. Here’s to many more hits for the young outfielder. To his credit, Stewart also squared up a Verlander fastball above the zone with two strikes in his first at-bat of the day, though that one was hauled in by Astros’ centerfielder Jake Marisnick running full out in left-centerfield. Welcome to the bigs, Christin. You won’t see much better pitching ever than in your debut.