Mar 31, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers short stopAlex Gonzalez
(second from right) is swarmed by teammates after hitting a walk off hits an RBI single against the Kansas City Royals in the ninth inning of an opening day baseball game at Comerica Park. Detroit won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Max Scherzer was unsure of what kind of reception he’d receive from Detroit Tigers fans after last week’s controversy when he turned down a sizable contract extension to stay in Detroit past the 2014 season. He found out when he received a well-deserved ovation from the Opening Day crowd in Detroit on Monday.
Even though some fans took to the “internets” to express their displeasure with Scherzer, they obviously will root for him to have great success in 2014, because if he’s as good as he was in 2013, the Tigers will likely be playing in October once again.
While Wednesday’s crowd will likely be much more sparse than the sell-out crowd from Opening Day, the Tigers will look to clinch at least an Opening Series victory with a win.
Detroit Tigers (1-0) vs Kansas City Royals (0-1) — 1:08 PM
Comerica Park — Detroit, MI
TV: FSD, MLB.com (For out-of-market fans, most cable and satellite providers have a free preview of MLB Extra Innings for the season’s first week)
Radio: 97.1 The Ticket
Weather: 52 degrees, mostly sunny
When We Last Met
Aside from a good first inning for Justin Verlander, and a second inning homerun from Victor Martinez, not much went right for the Tigers on Opening Day–until the late innings. The much maligned bullpen held the Royals scoreless after JV minimized the damage to just three runs and it allowed Detroit to come from behind. Alex Gonzalez was the hero of the day after being a goat early in the game with two bad plays at shortstop. His hits tied the game in the 7th and won it in walk-off fashion in the 9th.
The hero in a losing effort for Kansas City was Salvador Perez. The catcher had a perfect day with two singles and two doubles in four plate appearances.
Scherzer was nearly perfect against the Royals in 2013–going 3-0 in four starts. Alex Gordon seemingly has Max’s number, notching 11 hits in 28 at-bats (.393), including two homers.
Jason Vargas, getting his first start as a Royal, did not face the Tigers in 2013 as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, finished with a 9-8 record with 4.02 ERA in 24 starts. Alex Avila and Miguel Cabrera have Vargas’ number, hitting .333 and .375 with a homer respectively against the left-hander.