The Detroit Tigers have played a trio of spring training games, one against Southern Florida College and two against actual MLB teams.
The Detroit Tigers had a snoozer of a game on Friday afternoon against the Baltimore Orioles, But on Saturday, it didn’t take long for the bats to get going against the Houston Astros.
Of course, spring training games are relatively meaningless in the scheme of things, but hitting home runs at Joker Marchant Stadium is no joke. And, the Tigers hit three in a row in the third inning and one in the seventh on Saturday afternoon.
Joker Marchant Stadium measures 420 at center field and 340 at the corners according to the Lakeland Flying Tigers website. For comparison, Comerica Park also measures 420 at center field but is 345 at the left field corner and 330 at the right field corner.
In the third inning, against Edison Frias with the Houston Astros, Andrew Romine, Ian Kinsler, and Victor Martinez hit back-to-back-to-back jacks. Romine’s home run scored two since Juan Perez was on base at the time. This was Frias’ first outing against MLB hitters and what a set of hitters to face. After the four runs scored, Frias hit Miguel Cabrera in the hand, which was probably a good thing for Frias.
The fourth home run of the day was hit by Jason Krizan who played with the Erie Seawolves and the Toledo Mud Hens in 2016.
After the four runs scored, Frias hit Miguel Cabrera in the hand, which was probably a good thing for Frias. Miggy’s first at-bat resulted in an immense double to center field off of starting pitcher Brad Peacock.
Giving Fans What They Want
These home runs were exactly what fans have been expecting to see. Since the Tigers aren’t known for their foot speed, big hits and timely hits will be keys to success for the team. The Tigers did not face off against the top players on the Astros, but a little batting practice against speedy pitching never hurt.
Pitchers Performed Well
To make the day even better, the Tigers pitchers got to show off their stuff, too. Justin Verlander made his 2017 debut on the mound throwing for two innings. He gave up one hit and one walk but struck out two batters. According to Chris McCosky with The Detroit News, Verlander hit 95 MPH in this first outing. In the same article, Brad Ausmus said about Verlander’s first start:
"“I’m not going to throw a parade, but it was the best first outing I have seen from Ver,” manager Brad Ausmus said."
It might not sound like that big of a deal that Verlander hit 95 MPH today. But, Verlander is a pitcher who settles in and speeds up as the game continues. Hitting that speed so early could be a good sign of things to come.
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The bullpen performed well, too. Blaine Hardy allowed a hit and struck out one. Mark Lowe, Alex Wilson, and Justin Wilson each struck out two batters in their respective innings. Toledo native A.J. Achter had two unearned runs off of two errors. The only pitcher credited with any runs was Shane Greene – who does need to have a good spring training after his inconsistent pitching in 2016.
Today’s game was a quick reminder of how much fun it is to watch (or in my case – listen to) the Tigers rake at the plate and dominate on the mound. Even the minor league players got in on the fun today. The Tigers play the Mets on live TV Sunday at 1:10 on MLB Network.