The Tigers start their spring schedule today with their usual opener versus the Florida Southern Moccasins. Here is the line-up:
Austin Jackson, CF
Brennan Boesch, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Alex Avila, C
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Andy Dirks, DH
Ryan Raburn, 2B
They will all leave the game after the first inning, but it's possible we may see the same line-up on the opening day of the regular season. Manager Jim Leyland has already strongly suggested that the first seven batters will bat in that order. Dirks and Raburn are more questionable depending on how the second base and left field/designated hitter positions shake out this spring.
Any line-up including Cabrera and Fielder looks strong, but there are some questions. Jackson is far from an ideal lead-off hitter and may have a better chance of developing power than on-base skills. They don't really have another option that Leyland is likely to use though.
Delmon Young seems too high in the fifth hole, but it might not be a bad spot for him. With Fielder and Cabrera likely to be on base frequently, it makes some sense to have a free-swinging relatively high average hitter batting behind them. It's better than having Young in front of the big hitters as he was last year.
Song of the Turtle
With the first spring training game, the Song of the Turtle can not be forgotten. It's a passage from the bible (Solomon 2:12) which was presented by legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell on the first broadcast every spring:
For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times reported this morning that Tigers relief pitcher Lou Sleater won a game with a walk-off home run exactly 20,000 days ago today. A walk-off homer by a pitcher is a rare event for sure, even in leagues where pitchers bat.