The Detroit Tigers played their first game of the season on Tuesday against Chicago. While the Tigers did earn a convincing 6-3 win, below are three overreactions to the first game of the season.
1) Justin Verlander will win the A.L. Cy Young. After going a solid 6.1 innings in Tuesday’s win, Verlander appeared to be back in mid-season form early on. He walked two, and scattered six hit, but struck out 10 batters. A Detroit Tiger starter struck out double-digit batters for the first time since Mickey Lolich did it in 1970. Clearly, Verlander is locked in early on and should be a top-three contender for the award.
2) Mikie Mahtook will not remain a member of the Detroit Tigers this season. This spring, Mahtook only hit to the tune of a .188 batting average. He had 12 hits, with four of them coming as multiple-base hits. In his first game of the season, he went 0-for-3, unable to make much happen at the plate.
Once J.D. Martinez returns from injury, the outfield becomes a little more crowded, with Tyler Collins and Jacoby Jones already positioned to platoon in center. Mahtook has done little to leave a positive lasting impression.
3) Jacoby Jones and Nick Castellanos will total more home runs combined than Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. The Tiger bats were making hard contact with the ball early on in the game. Jacoby Jones smacked his first career MLB home run in the second inning.
Nick Castellanos followed it up by hitting one in the same inning. Castellanos has elevated expectations this year. Jones showed glimpses of his potential last season. This year, it will be interesting to see if he can maintain the streaks of power and success that glimmered last season.
With Cabrera and Martinez, it all comes down to health. If the two of them stay off the disabled list, they should pack a powerful punch, but health has been an issue for these two, particularly Martinez.
Overall, it will be an interesting season to watch in Motown. The offense has the potential to put up some gaudy numbers, but so does the bullpen. Manager Brad Ausmus showed in Game One his desire to shut the games down quick, only giving Shane Greene 14 pitches to work with in the ninth inning of the game with a four-run lead. Look for Detroit and Kansas City to create a log-jam in the pursuit of the Cleveland Indians.