With temperatures sitting in the 20s during the game — not to mention a stiff breeze at field level — it seems like Smyly’s troubles were mostly weather-related. Given that he retired the first two hitters he faced in short order, it seems like he lost his feel for the baseball after being on the mound for a little while, which would explain the inability to throw any of his pitches for a strike consistently.
The argument in discussing the quality of the Tigers’ starting rotation isn’t whether it’s the best in the division. It’s whether it’s the best in the majors. Fangraphs thinks it is. I think it’s good enough that the difference between the Tigers and any team that might have a better rotation doesn’t matter much. That is to say, it’s very good. There have been stretches over the last couple years where Scherzer, Fister and last year in the playoffs, maybe even Sanchez seemed like the best pitcher in the rotation. That’s in a rotation that includes Justin Verlander. That’s special.
I usually walk to the ballpark on the road if it’s close enough, and Target Field is within 15 minutes of our hotel. How cold can it be, I thought? Besides, this is Opening Day and I wanted to get a feel for what the vibe was like in downtown Minneapolis.
Five minutes into my stroll, I realized I had made a poor choice. Not only was it barely over 30 degrees outside, but the streets were quiet and no sign of Opening Day excitement existed.
Peralta will almost certainly be better. Players do decline as they age, but at age 30 he has not entered a period where steep decline typically occurs.
Besides that, he appears to be in better shape. Reports earlier this spring suggested Peralta spent added time on conditioning in the offseason and entered spring training at 218 pounds, down from the 236 he weighed at the end of 2012.
Danny Worth, INF: If ever there is a light rail line connecting Toledo and Detroit it should be named after Worth. Injured middle infielder? Call up Worth. Random player goes on paternity leave? Call up Worth. Utility player on the disabled list? You get the idea. The good news for Worth: He will be out of options after this season, which means the Tigers will have to keep him on the roster in 2014 or risk losing him.