Walkoff Wrap: Returns

Including the split squad games on Sunday and the game against the Toledo Mud Hens on Wednesday, there are only six games left before the Tigers open the season against the Red Sox on Thursday. The baseball community is in an impatient limbo thanks to return of spring training games after the two-game season opening teaser in Japan. We can try, but the weird feeling won’t be cured until Wednesday evening, when the St. Louis Cardinals fly into Miami to re-open the season, and even then, Tigers fans have to wait till 1PM the next day before they can see Justin Verlander finally toe the slab.

Friday afternoon saw Miguel Cabrera return to the starting lineup. While the Tigers originally said he was expected to be out at least two weeks, no one believed it for one second. That’s why we love Miguel Cabrera so much. He came back a week early and hit two doubles. If this guy doesn’t finally win an MVP this year, I’ll eat my shorts. I thought about eating Prince Fielder’s shorts, but if I did that I’d have to take two days off and that’s just not realistic.

Brandon Inge didn’t play Friday because a groin injury. I can’t divulge in this anymore. I can only trust that the Tigers will do the right thing by releasing him, but will sit quietly in the corner if they do not. He’s not a vital member of the team and ultimately an irrelevant topic no matter how many people think otherwise. In other words, his net return is akin to a masked vigilante in a comic book; he’ll create havoc when he appears, but in the end he’ll be harmless and won’t ruin anything.

When Duane Below took the mound he knew that his performance would have a significant impact whether or not he would win the fifth starter job. After four walks, each easily avoidable, and three earned runs in three innings, he certainly didn’t help his case. I don’t know, if Leyland and Dombrowski are looking at stats (and by stats I mean control) to decide this spot, then it really does look like the starter will be the one who doesn’t pitch himself out of a game and not the other way around.

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