Minnesota Twins 4/6, 8-9
The Minnesota Twins will kick off the 2015 season for the Tigers at Comerica Park April 6-9. Boasting a new manager, Paul Molitor will lead the Twins this season after previously serving on the team’s coaching staff. The club finished with a 70-92 record, last place in the American League Central in 2014.
The Twins added a familiar face to their lineup for the 2015 season, former Tiger Torii Hunter. Hunter will be the team’s new starting right fielder as he returns to the Twin Cities for his second stint with Minnesota. Hunter made his major league debut with the Twins in 1997 and played 11 seasons before returning in 2015. Hunter ended the 2014 season with the Tigers with a .286 batting average, 157 hits, 33 doubles, 17 home runs and 83 RBI over 142 games.
Infield anchors Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe, second and third baseman respectively, led the Twins offensively in 2014. Dozier had 145 hits, 34 for extra bases, 23 home runs and 71 RBI over 156 games. Plouffe did just as much damage with 134 hits, 42 for extra bases, 14 home runs and 80 RBI over 136 games.
Minnesota starting righthanded pitcher Phil Hughes led the team on the mound in 2014 with a 16-10 record and 3.52 ERA. Hughes gave up 16 walks and struck out 186 over 209.2 innings pitched.
Tigers vs. Twins (All-Time)
||At Comerica Park
Chicago White Sox 4/17-19
The Chicago White Sox lead off a 10-game homestand at Comerica Park with a weekend series April 17-19. In manager Robin Ventura’s third year at the helm of the White Sox, the team finished fourth place of the American League Central with a 73-89 record.
During the offseason, the White Sox signed free agent Melky Cabrera to replace the bat of Paul Konerko, who retired at the end of the 2014 season. Konerko closed out his 18-year career with 16 seasons on Chicago’s South Side, where he was selected for six All-Star Games and was named the 2005 ALCS MVP. The first baseman concluded the 2014 season batting .207 with 43 hits, 22 RBI and five home runs in 81 games.
An offseason trade with the Oakland Athletics brought righthander Jeff Samardzija back to Chicago. In 2014, Samardzija combined for seven wins, a 2.99 ERA and 202 strikeouts with the Chicago Cubs and the Athletics. He joins lefthanded ace Chris Sale, who led White Sox starters with a 2.17 ERA and a 12-4 record.
The White Sox led Major League Baseball in double plays turned with 170 for the 2014 season in part to the combination of Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham at shortstop and second base, respectively, who will return to those positions for 2015.
Tigers vs. White Sox (All-Time)
||At Comerica Park
New York Yankees 4/20-23
The New York Yankees make their only trip to Comerica Park for a four-game series April 20-23. After missing the playoffs for only the third time in the past 20 years, the Yankees are looking to rebound from an 84-78 record and a second place finish in the American League East.
Throughout the 2014 season, the Yankees’ starting rotation was plagued with injury. C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova missed most of the season, combining for only 12 starts. Masahiro Tanaka had a 12-4 record, 2.51 ERA and 135:19 strikeout to walk ratio in his first 18 starts, before suffering an injury that left him out of the rotation until late September. Michael Pineda had four starts early in the season before heading to the disabled list until mid-August, when he rejoined the rotation and wrapped up the season with a 1.89 ERA.
The Yankees acquired second baseman Stephen Drew, third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Andrew Miller through free agency signings. They were also involved in a three-team trade with the Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks that brought Shane Greene to Detroit from New York and sent Didi Gregorius from Arizona to New York to fill shortstop position vacated by Derek Jeter’s retirement. Gregorius ended the 2014 season with a .226 average scoring 35 runs, driving in 27 with 20 extra-base hits in 80 games.
Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner used their speed on the base paths combining for 60 stolen bases, 39 and 21, respectively. All three outfielders – Gardner in left, Ellsbury in center and Carlos Beltran in right – combined for 75 doubles, 13 triples and 48 home runs.
Tigers vs. Yankees (All-Time)
||At Comerica Park
||At New York
Cleveland Indians 4/24-26
The Cleveland Indians visit Comerica Park for the first time of the 2015 season to close out the Tigers’ homestand on April 24-26. In Terry Francona’s second year as manager, the Indians finished with an 85-73 record, enough for third in the closest division race of the 2014 season in the American League Central.
Indians ace Corey Kluber ended the season with an 18-9 record and 2.44 ERA in 34 starts. He was elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America as the 2014 American League Cy Young winner, which was held by former Tigers’ pitcher Max Scherzer in 2013.
In a trade with the Oakland Athletics, the Indians acquired 2014 All-Star Brandon Moss. He finished 2014 with a .234 average, reaching base 117 times and driving in 81 runs in 147 games.
Catcher Yan Gomes and outfielder Michael Brantley were both selected as Silver Sluggers and are returning for another year in an Indians uniform. Gomes spent 126 games behind the plate and batted .278 with 74 RBI and 21 home runs. Brantley hit for a .327 average with 200 hits, 45 doubles and 20 home runs. He scored 94 runs and batted in 97, setting career highs in each of these categories.
Tigers vs. Indians (All-Time)
||At Comerica Park
This content was originally published in Issue 1 of “The Tigers Magazine” distributed at stands throughout Comerica Park during the 2015 Detroit Tigers season.