Week 1 in Review: Pondering Tigers’ Fast Start
Posted on April 13, 2015
A fast start to any baseball season is infinitely better than the opposite. Impressed by the Tigers’ 6-0 start in the first week of the season? Heck yeah. Good, fun baseball is good, fun baseball — even better when it includes the general destruction of two divisional pests.
“Yeah, but it’s only the first week.”
But it’s the first week of a season in which Detroit faces a lopsided intra-division schedule early, in which Justin Verlander, Bruce Rondon and, unexpectedly, Joe Nathan are on the disabled list. It has disaster written all over it, people.
Instead, the Tigers ripped off six wins, four of them were by a margin of at least four runs, and at least announce to the 6-0 Royals that the Tigers won’t let them or anyone run away with the A.L. Central. At least not in April.
Thirty years ago the Tigers won their first six games … and finished a distant third in the A.L. East, and only a game ahead of the Yankees. Chances are that fast start kept the Tigers from plummeting from wire-to-wire champs to fourth place in one year. More recently, in 2008, they lost their first seven games and never recovered.
We have a long way to go before we can determine what impact the Tigers’ 6-0 (now 6-1) start meant to their 2015 destiny. And, oh yeah, they’ve yet to face the White Sox and Royals. One thing’s for sure: a fast start definitely doesn’t hurt.
Other thoughts after Week 1: I don’t understand and probably never will understand Major League Baseball’s early-season scheduling rationale. It’s not just the players that are miserable and risking injury in icebox conditions, the fans are stuck outside in what would likely be considered sub-optimal football weather. Of course, I sat through many a bone-chilling Opening Day and early season games at Tiger Stadium and Coors Field and didn’t really mind all that much. Now? I just feel bad watching fans freeze out there … Who knows if Yoenis Cespedes will be a Tiger for more than one season, but I certainly hope he signs an extension. He’s fun to watch. I dreaded him with the A’s but love him in Detroit … And finally, this is related to today’s loss to the Pirates: Josh Harrison’s first-pitch homer off Anibal Sanchez isn’t the first time an opposing player teed off on the first offering on Opening Day. On April 7, 1986, Opening Day, at Tiger Stadium, Dwight Evans hit a first-pitch, leadoff home run off Jack Morris. (I skipped school that day and sat in the centerfield bleachers, upper deck of course.)