It was a big day in Detroit today as one of the largest crowds in Comerica Park history watched the Tigers beat the Royals 5-2 in the home opener. For those of us living outside of Detroit, it was just another Tigers game, but we enjoyed the result. I worked at home today and, with the late start, was able to keep an eye or an ear on the TV.
The Tigers faithful found a new hero in the first inning when newly acquired Victor Martinez crushed a bases clearing double off the center field wall to put the Tigers up three to nothing. The importance of Martinez batting behind Cabrera in the line-up is already being seen as Cabrera, who led the league with 32 intentional walks last year, has not been walked on purpose once yet this year. Three-run doubles do not hurt either.
The Tigers would not need any more runs thanks to some solid pitching by starter Max Scherzer. After a dubious spring and a rough first regular season outing, Scherzer allowed just one run on seven hits in six innings today. It wasn't one of his dominant shutdown performances like those of last year's second half, but it was good to see a relatively clean outing from the Tigers righthander.
Rookie Brayan Villareal, who allowed the second Royals run, and southpaw Dan Schlereth pitched the seventh. They got through the seventh today a lot better than they did yesterday, but it's looking like the bridge between the starters and setup man Joaquin Benoit is going to be a precarious one this year. Benoit and closer Jose Valverde preserved the victory with a scoreless inning apiece.
The Royals are a team the Tigers should be able to beat most of the time, but they've been a thorn in the side of the Tigers the last few years. The Bengals had an embarrassing 26-28 record versus Kansas City between 2008-2010. That's something that needs to change this year and today was a good start.