Feb 14, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Pitchers work on defensive drills during the Detroit Tiger

Detroit Tigers Open Exhibition Season With 12-0 Win Over Florida Southern

The Detroit Tigers began exhibition play today with their traditional game against Florida Southern College. It’s just an exhibition against a Division II school, but we haven’t had baseball in, like, forever, so sorry if I’m a little overly excited about this.

Play info thanks to tweets from Chris Iott, Dana Wakiji, Jason Beck, Lynn Henning, and James Chipman.

We really shouldn’t care about anything that happens in this game – results-wise, I mean – because we’re talking about one game against a far (far, far) inferior opponent, but baseball was played and so I’m going to write about it. Because baseball is fun.

The big name starters only played long enough to get one at bat, so Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, and Torii Hunter were done after one inning, and Austin Jackson and Victor Martinez were done after two. No one (likely) slated for a major league job pitched in this game for the Tigers so, after about an inning and a half, it was pretty much utility, AAA, and AA players against Florida Southern. Which is to say, it remained quite a mismatch.

The Tigers went on to “win” 12-0, but both sides rotated in a lot of players and everyone had a good time, probably.

On the pitching side of things:

  • Drew VerHagen was the nominal starter for Detroit. He went two innings with two strikeouts, no walks, and no hits allowed.
  • Prospect Robbie Ray followed with two scoreless innings of his own. He struck out five of the six batters he faced, walked none, and allowed one double (the runner was later erased attempting to steal third base).
  • Kyle Lobstein and Jose Ortega each pitched one scoreless inning: no walks, no hits, no strikeouts for either.
  • Juan Marinez struck out two and allowed a double in his one inning.
  • Jose Valdez struck out one and didn’t allow a base runner in an inning of work.
  • Melvin Mercedes finished the game for the Tigers with two strikeouts and one single allowed in the ninth inning.

One interesting thing to watch this spring will be the defensive play of Nick Castellanos at third base. He got a bit of action early on in the game with a slow grounder, what seemed like a long-ish chase of a pop fly, and a more difficult backhand-and-throw:

Offensively, none of the big names provided any of the punch in their limited action (Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Ian Kinsler, and Andy Dirks combined to go 0-7), but here were some notable performances by others:

But there’s nothing to glean from any of these performances except for the fact that baseball will be in our lives for the next eight months. Yay for that.

Tomorrow we get to feel less bad when the Tigers whomp on an opponent, they play the Atlanta Braves in their Grapefruit League opener at 1:05 PM. Radio coverage is scheduled for WXYT 1270 in Detroit.

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