March 2, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter (48) against makes his Detroit Tiger debut in the Twin citiesMandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Day 2013 Series Preview: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins

March 01, 2013; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) opens the season for the defending AL champs. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Opening day is here and the Detroit Tigers can begin their run at a World Series Championship.  However, they must start on the road against a team that has played well against the Tigers in recent years.  The Tigers took the 2012 season series against the Minnesota Twins 10-8. Oddly enough each team performed better on the road during the series.  The Twins new ballpark Target Field suited the Bengals better than the old Metrodome The Tigers earned 7 Wins during their 9 games there in 2012.

The Tigers begin defense of their American League pennant with an improved team.  Former Twin Torii Hunter did not fare well at Target Field last year while with Los Angeles Angels hitting .200 in 6 games. That should make little difference, Hunter has plenty of help in the top of the order.  The key player in this series will be Miguel Cabrera who raked against the Twins last year.  He did a lot of damage at Target Field hitting .378/3/13 in the twin cities last year.

The Twins have a new look at the top of the order. Prospect Aaron Hicks is getting a shot to play center field. The Twins are hoping that the rookies raw talents can help fans forget about Denard Span. Joe Mauer has had an excellent spring and was playing competitive baseball while serving as the backstop for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Josh Willingham is coming off of a career year and all-star appearance.  Together they anchor a Twins line-up that can score runs.

The Tigers hitters won’t recognize many of the Twins starting pitchers.  Veterans Vance Worley, Kevin Corriea and Mike Pelphrey will make their first starts in a Twins uniform this series.  All are veteren pitchers looking to benefit from a change if scenery. All three came from the National League and have had limited exposure to AL hitters.

The Probale pitching match-ups for the series are:

Game 1: Justin Verlander vs. Vance Worley

Game 2: Anibal Sanchez vs. Kevin Correia

Game 3: Rick Porcello vs. Mike Pelfrey

The probable Lin-up for the Tigers:

1. Austin Jackson CF

2. Torii Hunter RF

3. Miguel Cabrera 3B

4. Prince Fielder 1B

5. Victor Martinez DH

6. Andy Dirks LF

7. Johnny Peralta SS

8. Alex Avila C

9. Omar Infante 2B

The probable line-up for the Twins:

1. Aaron Hicks CF

2. Joe Mauer C

3. Josh Willingham LF

4. Trevor Plouffe 3B

5. Chris Parmalee DH

6. Wilken Ramirez RF

7. Ryan Doumit 1B

8. Brian Dozier 2B

9. Pedro Florimon SS

Tigers Players To Watch:

If it comes down to a close game in the ninth who will the Jim Leyland brain trust turn to shut the door.  Torii Hunter makes his Tiger debut against the team he broke into the majors with and Victor Martinez returns to the majors after a knee surgery.

Twin To Watch:

March 7, 2013; Clearwater, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (63) gets a chance as the Minesota Twins CF. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Hicks: The Twins finally gets his shot as the starting center fielder. Starters: Will the Twins extreme rotation make-over pay dividends against the American League Champs.

Series Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Time for talk is over.  Lets play ball!! You can catch the Detroit Tigers 2013 season opener at 4:10 EST on Fox Sports Detroit.




Tags: Detroit Tigers Minnesota Twins MLB

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