MLB Opening Day is the true start of the new year to baseball fans. On Thursday March 28th fans, players and coaches were raring to get the first pitch of the game started and for the Detroit Tigers it was a great game that resulted in the first win of the season for the Detroit Tigers.
Thursday, March 28th:
Detroit 2 – Toronto 0 (10 innings)
Detroit Tigers opened up the 2019 regular season in Toronto against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Opening Day starter for the Tigers was right-handed pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, who was opposed by the Blue Jays’ right-handed starter Marcus Stroman. Looking at the pitching matchup for this Opening Day game, both starters were looking to get off to a good start after disappointing seasons last year. Jordan Zimmerman and Marcus Stroman both got off to great starts and dominated hitters early and often. Stroman pitched 5.2 innings of no-hit baseball before giving up a single to Castellanos, and finished the game with seven innings of scoreless baseball, allowing two hits, walking four, and striking out seven Tiger batters. Jordan Zimmerman would not be outdone as he looked completely unhittable and locked in. Zimmerman began Opening Day retiring the first 20 Blue Jays he faced before giving up an infield single to Teoscar Hernandez with two down in the seventh inning. Zimmerman would then get Smoak to strikeout on four pitches to finish the seventh inning. The way in which Zimmerman was locked in and using his off-speed pitches to compliment his on-point fastball is what made him really effective in his first start of the season. While the starters didn’t go the full nine innings (ten innings in this case), the bullpens still kept the opposing bats from getting hot until the Tigers got a leadoff double by Niko Goodrum. Then, rookie Christian Stewart launched a two-run home run to give the Tigers the 2-0 lead, which would hold to be the final score after Shane Greene retired the Jays hitters 1-2-3.
Friday, March 29th:
Detroit 0 – Toronto 6
Entering off of an extra innings victory on Opening Day, the Tigers looked to continue the series with gusto but instead, they got shut down and shut out by the Blue Jays. Blue Jays’ right-handed pitcher Matt Shoemaker took the hill looking to have a good start to his season, and boy did he deliver for his team — pitching seven scoreless innings allowing only two hits, walking one and striking out seven. While Shoemaker absolutely dominated for Toronto, Detroit countered with southpaw Matthew Boyd, who was coming off a good season last year. Boyd struggled through five innings, allowing four runs (three earned, one unearned) on five hits, walking one and striking out 10. Although Boyd struggled and the bullpen gave up two additional runs over the final three innings, a team can’t win if the offense doesn’t score and that’s exactly what happened. Detroit had a total of four baserunners (Castellanos, Cabrera, Stewart) the entire game with the lone two hits belonging to Castellanos. A positive outcome from this game was the Tigers’ bullpen to limit the damage and keep the score within reach for a possible comeback.
Saturday, March 30th:
Detroit 0 – Toronto 3
With the season opening series tied 1-1 a piece, the Tigers handed the ball to right-handed starter Spencer Turnbull, who had won the final rotation spot out of spring training after the news of Michael Fulmer needing to have Tommy John surgery. Turnbull turned in a decent first outing for the season, as he went five innings, allowing three runs, all earned on four hits, while walking two and striking out five. Turnbull earned a rotation spot that once again left Daniel Norris in the bullpen. Norris came on in relief to start the sixth inning and went the next 2.1 innings pitching solid, allowing two hits and two walks and no runs. Once again, the Tigers lineup faced a right-handed pitcher — this time it was Aaron Sanchez, who was strong over five innings. Sanchez, who is coming off of an injury plagued season last year looked good as he allowed only three hits while walking three and striking out six. If the Jays’ right-hander can keep the ball around the zone consistently and stay healthy, he could have a breakout season. Meanwhile, the Tigers lineup was stopped cold in their tracks once again, as they couldn’t generate any runs and struck out 13 times, leaving 18 runners on base. Perhaps the most stressful moment of the game, however, was when Miguel Cabrera was hit by a pitch on his right hand and exited the game. According to the team, X-rays were negative and Cabrera was diagnosed with a right-hand contusion.
Sunday, March 31st:
Detroit 4 – Toronto 3 (11 Innings)
Entering the final game of the season opening series, Detroit came in looking to make sure they left with a series split and they accomplished what they set out to do. Manager Ron Gardenhire sent the newcomer southpaw Matt Moore to the mound for the series finale against the Jays rookie right-hander Trent Thornton. Both starters didn’t disappoint, as once again in this series, both starters would go five or more innings, allowing zero runs. Moore, who struggled in Spring Training, went seven innings, allowing two hits, while walking one and striking out six. While Moore did struggle during Spring Training being able to have a good first start in the regular season like he did, he will help keep that confidence he has and the team’s confidence in what he can bring every fifth day. Detroit’s lineup also showed up to Rogers Centre, combining for ten hits. However, the team also struck out thirteen times. Five of the Tigers’ ten hits were provided by leadoff man Jeimer Candelario, who also knocked in two runs in the seventh inning. After the Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the top of the 7th, it looked as though they would shutout the Jays, but in the bottom of the eighth with two runners on pinch, hitter Rowdy Tellez took Joe Jimenez deep to tie the game at three all. Both teams would be kept off the board until the Tigers got runners on the corners with two away in the top of the eleventh, when Castellanos lined the ball right back up the middle and past the diving second baseman scoring Greiner, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Shane Greene came on in the bottom of the eleventh to earn the save but not before allowing runners to reach the corner before getting Teoscar Hernandez to lineout to second base.
The Tigers now travel to New York, where they will play a three-game series against the Yankees before returning home to Comerica Park for the home opener.
Written by Ethan Perlman
About the Author
Ethan Perlman has been a sports fanatic for a long time and has also been involved in the sports world at the high school, college, and professional levels. Currently coaching football and JV basketball at Eton Academy, Ethan has also served on the Bowling Green State University baseball coaching staff from 2014-2018 and worked in the Detroit Tigers Clubhouse from 2014-2018 as a Bat/Ball Boy. Ethan now works at NRM Streamcast™ with writing sports blogs on football, basketball, and baseball.