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Detroit Tigers Opening Day Preview, TV/Radio, Festivities, Lineup

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Detroit Tigers Opening Day 2015

Detroit Tigers (90-72 in 2014) vs Minnesota Twins (70-92 in 2014)— 1:08 PM

Comerica Park — Detroit, MI

TV: FSD, MLB TV Free Game of the Day (For out-of-market fans, most cable and satellite providers have a free preview of MLB Extra Innings in the season’s first week)

Radio: 97.1 The Ticket (click for affiliates)

Weather: 57 degrees!, partly cloudy

Twitter: We will be Live Tweeting the game over at @MCB_Tigers. Join in with the discussion!

Detroit Tigers Opening Day Preview

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This one counts. After an off-season of changes, defections by former Cy Young winners, trades, injuries, hopeful recoveries, more injuries, improvement, regression and so much more we have finally arrived at Detroit Tigers Opening Day, an undeclared statewide holiday in Michigan.

It is time to put up or shut up. After a tough spring, were the veteran Tigers just going through the motions throughout the six weeks in Florida and are now ready to blitz the American League or are they going to take a step back in 2015? Will they make the playoffs again? Win a fifth straight AL Central? Finally win that elusive fifth World Series title?

The questions we’ve asked will begin to be answered, the concerns we’ve had in Spring Training will be magnified or marginalized–at least for one day.

Let’s hold off on the concerns just a bit, because it’s been a brutal winter in Michigan and now it’s Opening Day in Detroit. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Bring on spring. Bring on baseball. Go Tigers!

Festivities 

Gates Open at 11:00 AM

  • Prior to the game … the Tigers will celebrate their 2014 American League Central Division Championship by raising a commemorative flag in center field.The national anthem will be sung by Motown legends and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Four Tops
  • Michigan native and recent Best Supporting Actor Academy Award winner, J.K. Simmons will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • The Michigan Joint Honor Guard will present colors and a 300-foot American Flag will be presented in the outfield during the singing of the national anthem.
  • During the seventh inning stretch, Amy Gould of the 126th Army Band will sing God Bless America.
  • Game Ball Delivery: The game ball will be delivered by Technical Sergeant David Thomas of the Selfridge Air National Guard from Auburn Hills, Michigan.
  • Opening Day Giveaway: The first 40,000 fans will receive a Detroit Tigers rally towel, compliments of Ball Park and Meijer.

(Courtesy Tigers.com)

When We Last Met

Despite 20 games between first place Detroit and last place Minnesota, the Twins beat and battered the Tigers a season ago, winning the season series by claiming 10 of 19 games.

While a one-game season series advantage is hardly a decimation, the run differential between the two rivals was astonishing with Minnesota putting up 119 runs against Detroit pitching in 2014. The Tigers were also able to score runs on Twins’ pitching (well most of the Twins’ pitching, a notable exception being today’s starter, Phil Hughes) to the tune of 102 runs.

Minnesota scored zero runs in the last meeting, the final regular season game last year. Monday’s starter David Price went seven scoreless innings as the Tigers won 3-0 and clinched their fourth straight AL Central title.

The last time these teams opened a season against each other was 2013 when the Tigers spoiled the Twins’ home opener, 4-2. It has been 11 years, 2004, since the Twins served as the Tigers’ home opening opponents with Detroit claiming a 10-6 victory. The two teams opened the 2003 season against each other at Comerica Park with the Twins winning 3-1.

The Detroit Tigers have won three straight games on Opening Day and five of their last six. They haven’t lost an opener at Comerica Park since 2008 against the Kansas City Royals.

Pitching Matchup

David Price (15-12, 3.26) had a rather pedestrian year by his standards in 2014. While he was sharp with the Tampa Bay Rays (11-8, 3.11), he experienced a few rocky months in Detroit (4-4, 3.59) following the trade. But with a full offseason and Spring Training under his belt with the Tigers, everyone truly expects to see vintage David Price, especially in a contract year.

This is the first non-Justin Verlander Opening Day start for Detroit since Jeremy Bonderman started Detroit Tigers Opening Day 2007. Price was named today’s starter a few weeks ago, but it didn’t matter much after Verlander’s injury. In other words he would have been the guy no matter what.

Price was 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA against Minnesota last year. He made three Opening Day starts with Tampa Bay (2011, 2013, 2014), going 1-1 including his first victory last year.

Phil Hughes (16-10, 3.52) has settled in nicely with the Minnesota Twins after spending the first seven seasons of his career with mixed results as a New York Yankees’ starter. It will be the first Opening Day start of his career.

It is not only a reward for really being the only good thing about the Twins’ pitching staff a year ago, it is also a solid strategic move by new Minnesota manager Paul Molitor. Hughes was practically unhittable against the Tigers last year, going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA

Detroit Tigers Opening Day Lineup

  1. Rajai Davis-CF
  2. Ian Kinsler-2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera-1B
  4. Victor Martinez-DH
  5. J.D. Martinez-RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes-LF
  7. Nick Castellanos-3B
  8. Alex Avila-C
  9. Jose Iglesias-SS

Minnesota Twins Opening Day Lineup (look who’s batting cleanup!)

  1. Daniel Santana-SS
  2. Brian Dozier-2B
  3. Joe Mauer-1B
  4. Torii Hunter-RF
  5. Jason Vargas-DH
  6. Trevor Plouffe-3B
  7. Jake Arcia-LF
  8. Kurt Suzuki-C
  9. Jordan Schafer-CF

Injuries

Tigers

Twins

Next: Detroit Tigers 5 Opening Day Stories

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