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Detroit Tigers Opening Day: Justin Verlander Labors Through Scoreless First Inning

Ah, Opening Day. Words can't describe how happy this time of the year is. 

Except for Justin Verlander usually. He's a career 7-11, 5.06 ERA pitcher in the months of March/April, but has made it a point this season to get off to a strong start, having finished Spring Training with a league-best 0.96 ERA.

It looked like he would carry that success over today when he set Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter down easily -- Gardner struck out swinging and Jeter to hit a soft liner to second base on a 1-2 pitch. 

However, Verlander then walked both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez on 3-2 pitches and worked his pitch count all the way up to 30 before striking out Robinson Cano on a 3-2 pitch. 31 pitches. Not exactly how Verlander planned it coming in, but no hits or runs at least. 

In the top half, I was really impressed with Austin Jackson's first at bat against CC Sabathia. He fell behind 0-2 and waited on an 0-2 high fastball he probably would've fanned on last year. He wound up working the count to 3-2 before striking out. The next two batters, Will Rhymes and Magglio Ordonez, both hit the ball hard to center fielder Curtis Granderson. Granderson had to make a diving catch on Rhymes' liner. 

0-0 heading into the top of the 2nd.

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