Phil Coke gets loss in season opener

Every season begins amid eternal hope for a winning year, as well as
visions of end-of-season playoffs dancing in our heads. A victory in the
first game of the year would cement those feelings of hope, and confirm
our best wishes. On the other hand, a loss would bring us quickly back
to the reality that our team probably won’t win every game, even as much
as we would like them to do just that.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that baseball is a season of 162
games. The old saying about the season being a marathon, and not a
sprint is true. So, with that in mind, although it would have been nice
to kick the 2011 campaign off with a win, it wasn’t crucial.

I thought Tiger’s starter Justin Verlander looked good most of the
time, and other times he had a difficult time locating his pitches. He
got behind the hitters several times — and that is just asking for
trouble.

During spring training Verlander wanted to put his April woes behind
him by mentally envisioning March as the first month of the season. It
was a good strategy especially when you consider the April dog that
hounds him is a psychological one.

Verlander ended his day after 6 innings. He gave up just 3 hits and 3
earned runs. The biggest hit was a 3-run homer off of the bat of Mark
Teixeira in the 3rd inning. He walked 4 batters and struck out 8.

For those unfamiliar with the definition of a quality start, it is
when a pitcher lasts 6 innings and gives up no more than 3 runs in a
game. Verlander wasn’t credited with a win or a loss. However, he did
have a quality start. That is a pretty good way to begin the season.

Miguel Cabrera had a single in the 2nd and scored 2 runs – one of them in 4th after drawing a walk to start the inning.

The only other run for the Tigers came from Austin Jackson. After
leading off the 5th inning with a base hit, he scored on a Cabrera sac
fly to Curtis Granderson.

By the way, Curtis Granderson made the most of this game against his
former team. He had a couple of nice catches and a solo home run off
reliever Phil Coke in the 7th inning. Coke was tagged with the loss.

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia started the game for New York. Like
Verlander, he had a no-decision. Joba Chamberlain, who relieved CC to
start the 7th inning was the victor.

So, it wasn’t what we, as Tiger’s fans, had hoped for — a win. But
there were some signs of the good things to come. It wasn’t a total
loss.

Our Tiger’s have Friday off.

-Skip

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