Sometimes a decision like your Opening Day starting pitcher is a no-brainer, but in this case, it took a little extra thought.
It was announced today, thanks to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, that Justin Verlander would pitch in the Opening Day game at Comerica Park against the Kansas City Royals. Normally, picking Verlander to start the Opening Day game would be a fairly easy decision, but the one factor that played a major part in this was that rotation-mate Max Scherzer was the Cy Young winner last season.
Verlander had a down season in 2013, going 13-12 over 218.1 innings in 34 starts, with a 3.46 ERA. Justin also had core muscle surgery in the off season, and at the time, it was questionable as to whether he would be even available on March 31st. Verlander has made two starts this Spring, however, allowing no runs and just two hits in 8.2 innings of work. His most recent start against the Nationals had to be cut short because he was being too efficient, and manager Brad Ausmus did not want his ace continuing to get up and down between innings. He finished the rest of his work in the bullpen.
Scherzer, as the American League Cy Young winner last season, had an outstanding 21-3 record over 214.1 innings in 32 starts, posting a career-low 2.90 ERA. This Spring, Scherzer has made 4 starts, earning a 4-1 record as he put up a 2.51 ERA in 14.1 innings. Ausmus explained the decision to start Verlander over Scherzer in the opener, and the 29-year old, who is going into a contract year, took the news graciously.
2014 will mark Justin Verlander’s seventh consecutive Opening Day start.
Tags: Detroit Tigers