Surprise! Justin Verlander will start on Opening Day this season, according to Jim Leyland — Verlander’s sixth consecutive Opening Day start for the Detroit Tigers. FOX’s Jon Paul Morosi first reported the news.
The Tigers kick off the 2013 schedule on April 1 at Minnesota. Their home opener comes four days later, April 5, against the New York Yankees. With Verlander likely not retaking the hill until Saturday or Sunday, that leaves the door open for Max Scherzer, Doug Fister or Anibal Sanchez to get the nod for the Comerica Park opener.
Verlander is 0-1 with four no-decisions in his Opening Day history. Last season, he left in line for a victory over the Boston Red Sox, but Jose Valverde blew a save in the ninth inning. Detroit won that game, 3-2, on a ninth-inning walk-off.
Verlander’s last road Opening Day start came in 2011, when he took another no-decision in a 6-3 Detroit loss to the Yankees. His lone Opening Day loss: a 12-5 drubbing in Toronto in 2009.
No word yet on who will counter for the Twins in Game 1. Former Pittsburgh Pirate Kevin Correia is listed atop the team’s pitching depth chart. He took the hill twice against Detroit last season, delivering a pair of quality starts but taking two no-decisions in Pittsburgh losses.