Opening Day start vs. home opener start
The logical order to the rotation would have the top starter going on Opening Day, part of a four-game series at Toronto to begin the regular season. The fifth starter then would end up pitching the home opener April 10 against the Rangers, right?
“Not necessarily,” Jim Leyland answered.
He didn’t want to go into details, but it’s a unique scenario. It’s one thing to have a series on the road before starting at home, but another matter to open with a four-game series. And there’s certainly an ackowledgement that the home opener is huge in Detroit no matter when it falls, and it brings the type of energy level that isn’t simple for a pitcher to handle.
Justin Verlander would seemingly be the logical choice to open the season, despite the struggles last year. However, Jeremy Bonderman has started Opening Day twice (2005 and 2007). Armando Galarraga could also raise a case on the merits of leading the Tigers in wins last year.
However it turns out, the point is that it won’t necessarily be the winner of the Dontrelle Willis/Nate Robertson/Zach Miner/Rick Porcello competition who earns the home opener nod. But I would also expect the Tigers to send a front-line starter out against Roy Halladay April 6.