Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera turns back the clock on Opening Day

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

It was a snowy opening day in Motown, but the Detroit Tigers were able to fend off the pesky Cleveland Indians for a 3-2 victory.

Many don’t expect the Detroit Tigers to win very many games in 2021, but they’re off to a solid start behind what looks to be a rejuvenated Miguel Cabrera and Matthew Boyd.  Detroit was able to reward their new manager with his first victory right out of the gate.

A.J. Hinch may just be the facelift the organization needs.  Sure, he will always have those cheating whispers that will continue to follow him for the remainder of his career, but his managing philosophy mixed with analytics may just speed up the Tigers’ rebuild.

Miguel Cabrera looks comfortable playing first base again for the Detroit Tigers.

Cabrera didn’t wait long to make an impact at the plate, belting a two-run home run for the Detroit Tigers during his first at-bat in the first inning of the new season.

The soon-to-be 38-year old slugging first baseman drilled a Shane Bieber pitch to the opposite field on a bit of a line that eventually struck the railing above the painted on the yellow line above the right-field wall padding.

As Cabrera was rounding first, he kicked it into high-gear (for him) and slid into second base.  Miggy popped up and looked at the umpire and made a home run signal as he wasn’t sure if the ball cleared the wall.

Thursday had been the first time Cabrera returned to the field to play first base since 2019.  He’s mentioned in the past that he’s much more focused when he’s playing in the field.  He’s went on the record saying that it’s difficult for him to get into the rhythm of the game, just coming to the plate every few innings for an at-bat and sitting back down for multiple innings.

Being a designated hitter is a mental grind, and perhaps we overlooked the success a player like Victor Martinez had in that role for the Tigers in years past.

Cabrera made a tremendous play in the field, ranging to his right to stab a ball and prevent an RBI single to right.

Hinch remained true to his word when he said Cabrera would see his fair share of opportunities in the field; he also mentioned that Miguel has the best glove for the position on the roster.  I can’t say I completely agree with that, but I appreciate a manager’s willingness to inflate the confidence of his players.

Cabrera finished the day 1-4 with that home run, and two RBI’s to lead the Tigers past the American League reigning Cy Young winner, Cleveland’s ace Shane Bieber.  Bieber only lost one game all of last season, so I guess you could say that the Detroit Tigers have his number.

Matthew Boyd got the victory for Detroit, going 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, striking out two but walking four.  Flamethrower Gregory Soto notched his first save of the season despite allowing a pair of runs in the ninth inning.

Newly acquired outfielder Robbie Grossman made a positive impression setting the table at the top of the lineup, drawing three walks, and stealing a base in his Detroit Tigers debut.

Opening Day breeds new competition behind the dish. dark. Next

The same two teams will square off on Saturday at 1:10 p.m Est.