Justin Verlander wore long sleeves for the first time in his career. That’s how cold it was in Minnesota on April 1st. Despite struggling with command and throwing a ton of pitches, Verlander got his first Opening Day Win of his career after he vacated the game at the end of the 5th and turned it over to his bull pen.
The Tigers put 2 runs on the board in the first and another in the second. Which was enough for the win, but would tack on an insurance run in the 8th when the score was 3-2 after Drew Smyly, the alleged 5th starter if Rick Porcello was traded, relieved Verlander and heated up Target Field by setting it on fire.
Smyly had no control and walked 3 and gave up 3 hits in just 1.1 innings work, but Al Albuquerque came in with the bases loaded and just 1 out and squeezed out of the jam in the 7th to preserve the Opening Day win for the Bengals. Benoit came in and worked the 8th, then got the first batter on 1 pitch in the 9th before Phil Coke got the last two hitter to finish off the Twins.
Not the best game, sloppiness around, in the field, on the bases, at the plate, on the mound, but a win is a win, getting the first of the year is nice, especially in terrible weather.
Tigers get a much needed day off on Tuesday (what a joke) then back at it on Wednesday and Thursday in Minnesota before returning to Detroit for the home opener on Friday against the Yankees.