Strasburg-Verlander? It’s possible next year
If you’ve been wondering what a Justin Verlander pitching duel with Stephen Strasburg would look like, next season might be your year.
You probably weren’t wondering the same thing about a season-ending showdown in Miami, but you’re getting that, too.
Welcome to the new era of Interleague Play, unveiled Wednesday with the release of Major League Baseball’s 2013 schedule. With two 15-team leagues, there will be an Interleague series going on somewhere in baseball at any point in the season. For the Tigers, it starts at the end of April with the Braves coming to town, and it’ll go down to the final series of the season against the Marlins.
The schedule begins in Minnesota for three games against the Twins beginning on Monday, April 1 and continuing April 3-4. It’ll be the first time that the Twins open a season at Target Field, and it could be an interesting test of early spring weather in the upper Midwest. April 2 is slated as an off-day just in case Opening Day gets postponed.
From there, the Tigers return to Detroit for their home opener against the Yankees on Friday, April 5, beginning a six-game homestand that includes three games each against the Bronx Bombers and Toronto Blue Jays before Detroit embarks on its lone West Coast Trip of the year, playing nine games against the A’s, Mariners and Angels.
This year’s Interleague slate pits the Tigers against the National League East as well as the Pirates, their new designated NL rival. The highlight, however, might be a pair of two-game series against the Washington Nationals — May 7-8 at Nationals Park, July 30-31 at Comerica Park.
Washington is one of two National League teams the Tigers fill face for four games. They’ll have a home-and-home set of two-game series against Pittsburgh starting Memorial Day — May 27-28 at Comerica Park, May 29-30 at PNC Park. The rest of the Tigers’ Interleague slate consists of three-game series, including a visit from the Phillies July 26-28 and a trip to Citi Field to face the Mets August 23-25.
The twist, however, comes with three games in Miami Sept. 27-29, part of a season-ending road trip that begins in Minnesota.
Add up the Mets and Marlins series, and the Tigers will have two three-game series in the heart of a potential division chase which they’ll have to have their pitchers bat. It’ll be vastly different than past seasons, when they could get most of their pitchers batting practice out of the way in one June stretch with maybe a stray three-game series in May.
The Tigers won’t face the AL Central rival White Sox until July 9-11 in Detroit, but they’ll play each other 12 teams in August and September, including the Tigers’ home finale Sept. 20-22.