Tigers drop 2007 home opener
Tigers’ probable lineup and preview:
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Sheffield, DH
- Ordonez, RF
- Guillen, SS
- Rodriguez, C
- Casey, 1B
- Monroe, LF
- Inge, 3B
Pitcher: Jeremy Bonderman
Blue Jays probable lineup and preview:
- Reed Johnson, LF
- Lyle Overbay, 1B
- Vernon Wells, CF
- Frank Thomas, DH
- Troy Glaus, 3B
- Alex Rios, RF
- Gregg Zaun, C
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Royce Clayton, SS
Pitcher: Roy Halladay
Pregame: Man, I’ve been waiting a long time for this! As have we all. It’s been several cold, snowy, gray months for most of us following the World Series loss, but we made it through. It’s time for baseball, and now it counts! I’ve got nervous anticipation already, and I can’t wait to pick up my copies of the News and Freep in the morning — or something resembling it — and glancing over the season previews while the pregame is on. Unlike my first Opening Day in Marquette, it may not even snow — that’s Tuesday, in case you wonder. In any case, it’s going to be nice in Detroit for those lucky enough to snag tickets.
The good and the bad of being a good club on opening day against a good club is Detroit will look at the mound only to see a Cy Young favorite looking back at them in Roy Halladay. Fortunately, Jeremy Bonderman is a Cy Young contender as well, so we could be looking at a classic pitcher’s duel. But who really knows. These things never work out as planned. Just ask St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter, who gave up five runs Sunday night shortly after celebrating the Cardinals’ 2006 World Series victory. In any case, it’s going to be a happy day seeing a 10th American League pennant raised.
And you know what? I think the Tigers will show off their run scoring ability, even against a star pitcher. Tigers, 5-2.
Postgame: Jays, 5-3 (10 innings). The ceremony was great. Just gives you tingles to watch the pennant being shown and then raised. It was a great afternoon. The baseball was pretty good, too. Unfortunately, the Jays just got better pitching today. First, Bonderman had a rough outing in the first inning. He couldn’t find his location. The Jays added to it by hitting the basepaths for a pair of steals. Then after giving up two runs before recording an out, Bonderman suffered a bit of bad luck when a fly to the outfield hung too long in the wind, causing Craig Monroe and Carlos Guillen a bit of confusion. So that made it 3-0 after the first. Bonderman setttled in the rest of the game and, at one point, recorded 11 outs in a row.
But Joel Zumaya also struggled a bit, though he gave up no runs. Todd Jones, a strike
outÂ throwing machine, did as well. And Fernando Rodney could not record outs when he needed them, issuing a single, walk and then a hit batsman (Frank Thomas) on a 1-2 count to load the bases. He got two strikes on Troy Glaus, but couldn’t finish the deal, as Glaus singled in the game-winner. Alex Rios added an insurance run.
Total, the Tigers gave up six walks. Meanwhile, they did score three runs by grinding out some nice at-bats against Cy Young contender Roy Halladay. Casey Janssen did a great job coming on in relief of him. And BJ Ryan shut the door in the 10th. The Jays had eight strikeouts — half of them Monroe. Pudge (twice), Sheff and Granderson also K’d.
Defensive props to be given include Monroe, who grabbed a pair of long fly balls over the home run stripe at the wall; and Rodney, who deserves an ESPN web gem for his fielding of a grounder and throw to first, just to show that E1 thing is officially history. Offensive props go to Granderson, who had a double off Halladay and scored; Placido Polanco for a 3-for-5 game; and Gary Sheffield, who drove in a pair of runs with sac flies and really gave the Jays some scares with a pair of long, exciting strikes that fell foul.
You hate to lose the first one, but so be it. Half the teams lose on opening day, and most of them don’t have nearly as exciting a ceremony before the first pitch.