Free Press Writers George Sipple and Anthony Fenech preview the Detroit Tigers 2018 season ahead of the opening day against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, March 30, 2018.
Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press
After a 24-hour delay, Detroit's eatery opened on the day of its opening Friday afternoon at 1:11 pm.
It was 37 degrees. Tiger right-handed Jordan Zimmermann – a Wisconsinit – wore
What took place in the next few hours was the earliest look at why this team – inexperienced, pitching-robbed, and lacking talent – is likely to make more losses than victories ,
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Zimmermann was solid. The Tigers swung the bats well enough. And Miguel Cabrera, apparently a lock for the Hall of Fame, looked completely healthy.
But oh, that bullpen.
In the first game of the 2018 season, the Tigers & # 39; Bullpen blew their first lead. And in a marathon opener at Comerica Park, Gregory Polanco blew up a three run-run by Alex Wilson as the pirates beat the Tigers, 13-10, in the longest Opening Day game since at least 1908. It took five hours and 27 minutes.
The Tigers followed with four runs at the bottom of the ninth inning, but gathered to tie the game when James McCann and Dixon Machado hit two run-doubles.
An inning later made JaCoby Jones hit a walk-off single to score Nicholas Castellanos, but after the video review, the referees turned the call over and angered the crowd and manager Ron Gardenhire. In his first game with the Tigers, he was kicked out for the 66th time in his career and moved into contact with ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre for the ninth highest scores of all time.
• Box score
Although Wilson was admirable and threw 3 2/3 innings, he could not replace the bullpen that opened the game in the first place.
In the last three innings of regulation, the Bullpen allowed four runs, that's the number of runs Zimmermann gave up over six innings. Zimmermann's strong start went south in the fourth inning – beaten by a single one who hit the lip of the grass and slipped past second baseman Dixon Machado – but the tigers clawed back in seventh.
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Cabrera awoke the announced sold-out crowd in seventh with a double-double to tie the game and Castellanos drove him home at a dough later. The Tigers scored four runs to end the seventh inning with a 6-4 lead.
However, this leadership did not survive. Righty Drew VerHagen, charged with the eighth inning, allowed a single and left. Lefty Daniel Stumpf went left-handed and then surrendered to a double RBI and sacrifice fly to tie the game.
In the ninth, Pirates outfielder Starling Marte – the first batter faced by Shane Greene – tripled Castellano's outstretched glove in the right field. Marte scored on a Francisco Cervelli singles for a drawn infield. A ball passed later in the inning scored another run. One mistake scored two more.
It was the kind of game the Tigers need to win if they hope to win more than expected. Nothing was outstanding, not even Carpenter, who retired 10 Straight Batters after opening the game with a double. But the tigers got stuck long enough to have a good chance of winning and gave away the opportunity.
Zimmermann's bad inning came in fourth, four runs allowed on three hits. The largest was a double field by Francisco Cervelli. Zimmermann threw six innings and allowed six punches. He crossed eight bars – his highest total since May 16, 2016 – and did not miss any.
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Contact Anthony Fenech: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech .