Mother Nature tried to prevent it, but despite the effort (6 inches of wet, slushy snow) – Opening Day has arrived!
The first official Detroit Tigers ball game of 2009 will take place tonight in Toronto. Although I am not a fan of ballparks with roofs, today I will deal with it. Happily! Two games have been postponed due to weather – White Sox/Royals and Red Sox/Tampa Bay. But, the aegis of a retractable roof guarantees that there will be a game for Tigers fans!
The Tigers home opener take place on Friday, and it will be chilly, with temperatures in the upper 40’s. There is a slight chance of rain, but it looks as though we will see a game.
Let’s get back to tonight’s game. When the two teams face each other, here’s what to look for…
Justin Verlander goes to the mound to kick off the season. With the help of new pitching coach Rick Knapp, he has been working on a few off season adjustments. Will the changes that he has made help? The first three innings will give a good indication of that.
Josh Anderson, Detroit’s newest player, will start in left. Carlos Guillen will DH. With the addition of Anderson to the team, look for Granderson to get some occasional time off. Magglio Ordonez will DH from time to time, as Anderson can handle all of the outfield positions.
Detroit’s new shortstop, Adam Everette, promises to dazzle fans with his extraordinary plays.
Brandon Inge has a new batting stance, and he’s back at third. He is happy, and so am I. Look for improvement in his numbers through the year.
We have a new face mask behind the plate, Gerald Laird. He’s guaranteed to prevent thieving runners from advancing, and he can call pitches well.
Miguel Cabrera will light it up this year. (I am playing in MLB’s Beat The Steak fantasy game, and Cabrera is my first pick to have a hit). But, aside from that, Jim Leyland has warned players to expect cold playing conditions, and to adjust to them. He is trying to prevent the bumper crop of excuses we heard last year about weather affecting the hitters. Cabrera was rumored to have been one of them.
Polanco is staying at second. He is one of the best.
The first game always seems to be indicative of what we might expect for the season. This year, I am hoping for greater things from this team.
Remember, I predicted second place!
Now, you can follow me on Twitter throughout the baseball season!