When the Detroit Tigers throw their first pitch against the Minnesota Twins on Opening Day in Motown, the familiar face of Justin Verlander will not be standing on the mound. This morning Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus announced David Price as the team’s starter for the season opener. The last time Tiger fans saw someone else starting the season on the mound was in 2007 with Jeremy Bonderman doing the honors.
According to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Ausmus said “It’s a tough decision when you have two guys like that, it wasn’t an easy decision. But looking at it from a baseball perspective, I thought that this was the decision.”
Price, who came over from the Rays last summer in a trade, is entering the 2015 season in his final year of his contract, and had a great 2014 season, and definitely earned the nod over Verlander who struggled last year. Price had a major league leading 271 strikeouts, and finished sixth in the American League Cy Young voting. Verlander, who does seem to be looking like his old self this spring, will pitch game two of the series against the Twins.
When asked how Verlander handled being told he was not starting the opener Ausmus said, “Ver was great; he actually was, I don’t know how to describe it other than to say he was great. He handled it great and, you know, nobody wants to be told they’re not starting Opening Day when they’re certainly a viable candidate.”
A well deserved honor for the Vanderbilt alum, who continues to improve and be successful year after year.