Justin Verlander to get opening day nod for Tigers

Justin Verlander will make his seventh straight opening day start, but this time it's at least a mild surprise.
Justin Verlander will make his seventh straight opening day start, but this time it's at least a mild surprise. (USATSI)

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Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander is going to be the club's opening day starter, and it's actually newsworthy this time around.

For the past several years, there wasn't really a question, but this time around Max Scherzer is the reigning AL Cy Young winner and Verlander is coming off core muscle surgery. This nugget comes via sports researcher James Smyth:

This will be Verlander's seventh consecutive opening day start for the Tigers. Not that he's taken it for granted.

“I’m always grateful to pitch on opening day,” said Verlander (detroitnews.com). “I know what the day means to Tigers fans. It is like a holiday and I never take it for granted.”

Verlander, 31, went 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 217 strikeouts in 218 1/3 innings last season. He made his sixth All-Star Game, but it was a down year by his lofty standards. He did finish hot and thus far in the spring has thrown 8 2/3 shutout innings while striking out six and allowing only two hits.

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