The Boston Red Sox are trying to forget last season. The Detroit Tigers are trying to build on it.
In perhaps the most anticipated matchup of baseball's first big day of games, Detroit will send Justin Verlander to the mound when it hosts Boston at Comerica Park on Thursday. The Tigers won the AL Central last year and added slugger Prince Fielder in the offseason. The Red Sox missed the playoffs in 2011 because of a late collapse. This will be their first game under new manager Bobby Valentine.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland was blunt when outlining his goals for the opener.
''A win - that's it,'' he said. ''That's the bottom line, isn't it?''
In other words, Leyland isn't about to put any extra pressure on his ace, who is coming off a 24-5 season that earned him American League Cy Young and MVP honors. Verlander might even be overshadowed Thursday when Fielder makes his debut with the Tigers. The powerful first baseman signed a $214 million, nine-year deal with Detroit in January....