If you don’t count opening Day, the 44,710 people who showed up at Comerica Park on Saturday is a record for the Tigers. The game was also Fox’s “Game of the Week” and so, with quite a few eyes on them, the Motor City Muscle did not disappoint. Home runs from Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Alex Avila, Cabrera, and Fielder fueled a 10-0 destruction of Red Sox Nation.
After allowing three hits, a walk and striking out three in 3.2 innings, Doug Fister left the game due to a strained left side (oblique?). As with any injury it’s obviously concerning, especially since he dealt with such issues during Spring Training, but any immediate worries were put on the back burner as Duane Below entered the game and threw just as well. In 2.1 innings he allowed one hit and struck out three and earned the relief win, much unlike Jose Valverde on Thursday (ok, that’s enough).
The pressure on the Tigers pitching was decidedly less intense this afternoon as they lead 2-0 after the first inning on Cabrera’s two run home run, 5-0 after four on Fielder and Avila’s home runs, and 7-0 after five on Cabrera and Fielder’s back to back shots. In the end, the Tigers tacked on 10 total runs and effectively embarrassed the road team to go 2-0 on the infant season.
The Tigers bullpen following Below was also extremely efficient as Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, and Joaquin Benoit tossed the final three innings collectively striking out five while allowing three meaningless hits and a walk before Benoit struck former Tiger Cody Ross out to end the game.
Walkoff Box Score Bullets
- Austin Jackson was 1-for-3 with two walks and while he did strikeout once we can mark down another successful day at the office. It’s very early, but the initial returns on the new swing/stance are certainly acceptable.
- Brennan Boesch, on the other hand, finished the day 0-for-5 and grounded into two double plays and generally looked pretty impotent at the plate. In reacting, take the same approach as with Jackson; it’s early, Boesch is a very good hitter, and can easily attribute his 0-for-9 start to trying a bit too hard to impress (something that has been an issue with him in my opinion).
- The same doesn’t need to be said for either Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder as they went a combined 4-for-8 with five RBI, four runs scored and they even played decent defense. It’s hard not to get totally optimistic about the pair hitting next to one another all season.
- Speaking of defense, I made fun of the Tigers radio personality Jim Price on twitter when he said this regarding a ball that Cabrera charged in on and made a good throw to first: “Cabrera looks like a ballerina on his tippy toes like that. I tell ya, the big man can do it.” The thought of Cabrera in a ballerina outfit is fantastic though, I’ll give Price props for spawning this:
A huge thanks go out to David @CurseOfBenitez for the photoshop!
- Octavio Dotel officially became the first major league baseball player to play with 13 different teams when he delivered a first pitch ball to Kevin Youkilis in the seventh inning.
- Josh Beckett gave up seven runs on five home runs in four innings. He traditionally dominates Detroit, havening previously only allowed two home runs in 39.2 innings against them (2.50 ERA) in his career.
- Duane Below earned his first career win in relief, and if Fister needs to miss any time it’s a bit obvious who will replace him in the rotation. After the game he got a beer shower from teammates, which is pretty awesome.