When the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers square off on opening day it will be the first time since 2001 Ron Gardenhire won’t be the manager of the Twins. Instead it will be Paul Molitor making his debut as Twins manager.
Taking the mound on opening day for the Twins will be Phil Hughes. Hughes is making his first opening day start and is looking to build off his successful 2014 campaign. Hughes started two games against the Tigers last season going 2-0. He’ll look to make it 3-0 against the Tigers in a Twins uniform on Monday.
Standing in the Twins way will be lefty, David Price. Price has a 5-3 career record with a 2.55 earned run average against the Twins. It will mark the first time since 2007 that Justin Verlander won’t be on the mound on opening day for the Tigers.
Mar 24, 2015; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins right fielder Torii Hunter (48) signs autographs prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Players to Watch
- Torii Hunter: Hunter returns to the Twins after spending nine seasons with them from 1999-2007. Hunter hit .357 in spring training and will look to stay hot. Hunter brings much needed veteran leadership to a young clubhouse. Last season with the Tigers, Hunter hit .286 with 17 home runs and 83 RBI. It’s safe to say the Twins would be happy with similar results in 2015.
- Ricky Nolasco: Nolasco will take the mound for the second game of the series. Nolasco’s first season with the Twins was a train-wreck. Nolasco is hoping to bounce back after posting a 5.38 earned run average last season. It’s important for Nolasco to get off to a good start. Otherwise thoughts of 2014 may start to creep in.
- Joe Mauer: Mauer hit a career low .277 in 2014. Which is 42 points below his career average. He also struck out a career-high 96 times. If the Twins are going to right the ship, they need Mauer to perform at a high level.
The Tigers are looking for their fifth straight American League Central Title. While the Twins are trying to avoid losing 90 or more games in a season for the fifth straight season. The teams are polar opposites. The Tigers have an “aging” core while the Twins are relatively young. If the Twins can win this three game series in Detroit it will build confidence and get the Molitor Era started off on the right foot.
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