Every year, there are players that surprise, others that fall flat on their faces, and roster moves that seemingly come out of nowhere. Some, like Danny Worth driving between Detroit and Toledo at least five times, aren’t that surprising. Others, like Brennan Boesch completely falling out of favor, are a little more unexpected (shut up, Tokarz). Here are five things that you might not expect to happen for the Tigers in 2013.
After three games at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins, the Tigers head home for an American League Championship Series rematch with the New York Yankees. Doug Fister will pitch in the home opener Friday, with Max Scherzer pitching a nationally televised game Saturday and Justin Verlander on the mound at Comerica Park in a Sunday afternoon game. The Yankees were struggling offensively when the Tigers faced them in the ALCS. Their lineup will be short several key players due to injuries when they face the Tigers over the weekend. Outfielder Brennan Boesch will be back in town with the Yankees.
The Tigers are the prohibitive favorites to run away and hide, though that was the case last year, too — and, for a variety of reasons, they couldn’t take control of the division till the final week or so. In baseball, you just never know. The Royals have been talked about as the promising franchise of the future, and appear the biggest threat to push the Tigers. The Indians, though, need a lot more starting pitching. Another good winter next year, and they’ll be in the conversation.
Will the Tigers win the World Series?
MITCH ALBOM: No.
I say that only because you’re picking one team against 29, not because they can’t. The Angels look great, so do the Nationals and, just behind, the Rays. I’ll say this. If there’s no major injury a la Martinez last year, they should at least get to the Fall Classic.
The way they were talking at Friday’s press conference, Verlander and the Tigers are treating it as a performance-based incentive.
“I have a chance to get to the $200 million contract. I just have to earn it,” Verlander said. “I have no problem with that. The opportunity to stay in Detroit and earn $200 million is great. Obviously, it’d be nice if it was guaranteed, but I’ve got to go out there and earn it on the baseball field. That’s how I got this current contract and that’s how I plan to continue the rest of my career.”