Spencer Turnbull is a striking figure on the pitchers mound. His red beard immediately recognizable, creating an easy visual for fans who might not have otherwise been able to pick the rookie pitcher out of a lineup. Turnbull — who impressed everyone in spring training with his dominating pitching performances — was a surprise selection to head to the bump on Comerica’s Opening Day, but he didn’t disappoint.
Turnbull struck out 10 Kansas City Royals batters in his six innings to work, tying the team’s previous all-time record for Opening Day. It was also the most strikeouts by a Tigers rookie since Michael Fulmer’s 2016 season, and that one went pretty well.
After the game, the amassed media were able to ask Turnbull how it felt to get such an incredible symbolic gift with the Opening Day start. The 26-year-old didn’t try to play it cool when he declared, “It was awesome. It was a dream come true... It was the coolest feeling of my life so far.”
He seems to be very aware of how lucky he is to be in his position, admitting, “I don’t know if I deserved it or not, but it was really cool to have the opportunity.”
Everyone’s mind seemed to be on Turnbull yesterday, with The Athletic featuring an in depth story on his development. It’s worth reading the whole thing if you are a subscriber, but one gem was how Turnbull got his nickname. It was not crafted by our own Brandon Day, as one might believe if you are a regular listener to the Bless You Boys podcast, but rather something he picked up very early on in his baseball career:
Turnbull thinks one of his first travel ball coaches came up with it first. But his most vivid memories come from the father of one of his high school teammates. Up in the stands, during nearly every football and basketball game, Spencer Turnbull could hear a man named Johnny Goodspeed yelling: Let’s go, Red Bull!!!
It was a good nickname then, when Turnbull was a kid with bright red hair and whole lot of dreams. It’s a better nickname now, for the 26-year-old pitcher with a deep red beard and a fastball that ticks into the upper 90s.
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Looks like y'all like where this thing is headed right now pic.twitter.com/UNf7jYAtzF— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 4, 2019
Opening Day Tiger Bites
Paws video-bombed Brad Galli, as is tradition on Opening Day at Comerica.
MLive took a walk around TigerTown to see what the tailgating situation was like, and my personal favorite was the spread of “lamb chops, bacon wrapped pineapple, lobster tail, shrimp skewers, coney dogs and a special lemonade with 7 liquors.” Now THAT is a party.
A fun stat
Jacob deGrom is the first player of the season to reach 1.0 WAR — less than two weeks into the season. There is a five-way tie for second with a 0.8 WAR and there are some familiar names in the mix: Bryce Harper, Christian Yelich... and one Matthew Boyd.