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Justin Verlander, not Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, will start Opening Day for the Tigers

Mar 17, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

Justin Verlander Getty Getty Images

Max Scherzer is the reigning American League Cy Young winner, but he won’t be starting for the Tigers until the second game of the season. Rookie manager Brad Ausmus has decided on Justin Verlander as the Opening Day starter.

No surprise, really. As great as Scherzer was last season–going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 214 innings–Verlander has started each of the past six Opening Days for the Tigers and he’s got a Cy Young of his own from three years ago (plus a runner-up finish in 2012).

As soon as Verlander showed that he’s recovered from January surgery to repair a core muscle the choice was probably an easy one for Ausmus. And really instead of debating whether Verlander or Scherzer ought to be the one getting the ball in the season opener Tigers fans should probably just enjoy having a rotation with two Cy Young winners AND the reigning ERA champion (Anibal Sanchez) in the third spot.

By the way, last season Scherzer didn’t start for the Tigers until Game 5, following Verlander, Sanchez, Rick Porcello, and Doug Fister in the rotation.

  1. NatsLady - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Don’t celebrate too much. Anibal Sanchez scratched from today’s game with shoulder soreness.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20140317/SPORTS02/303170099/Game-thread-Depleted-Tigers-taking-Nationals-yet-again

    The Tigers later said he has “posterior shoulder inflamation” in his pitching arm but is expected to make his next start.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      It’s just a scratch.

      • ptfu - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:55 PM

        A scratch? His arm’s off!

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    It is a good place to be when your team has the best hitter on Earth, and the reigning Cy Young winner is your second-best pitcher.

  3. sportsfan18 - Mar 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Sports is the ultimate what have you done for me lately thing there is…

    Max deserves to pitch opening day based on what he did for ALL of last season.

    He clearly out pitched Justin last season and it wasn’t particularly close either.

  4. kchoya - Mar 17, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Too bad he’ll lose to Big Game James.

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