Opening Day has finally arrived! After a disappointing 96-loss season, the Detroit Tigers are determined to prove their doubters wrong as they kick off the new campaign against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday afternoon.

Tigers Players Hungry for Success

The Tigers are well aware of the skepticism surrounding their potential this season. Pitcher Matthew Boyd asserts, “A lot of people don’t believe in us… We know where we stand, and let’s go show everybody else otherwise.” Detroit hasn’t had a strong start in the past two years under manager A.J. Hinch, losing 23 of their first 32 games last season and 24 of their first 33 the year before. The upcoming schedule doesn’t provide any relief, with three of their first four series on the road against formidable opponents like the Rays, Astros, and Blue Jays.

Rays Pursue Fifth Consecutive Postseason Appearance

While the Rays aim for their fifth consecutive postseason appearance, the longest streak in franchise history, their journey hasn’t been without challenges. After reaching the World Series in 2020, they were knocked out in the first series during the past two seasons.

Game Details and Broadcast Information

First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Fans can watch the game live on MLB.TV, with the Tigers’ telecast available on Bally Sports Detroit in Michigan. Radio broadcasts will be in English on 97.1 FM and Spanish on 1270 AM. Rays fans can catch the telecast on Bally Sports Sun and listen to the radio broadcast on WDAE 95.3 FM/620 AM and the Rays Radio Network.

Probable Lineups and Starting Pitchers

Both managers, the Tigers’ A.J. Hinch and the Rays’ Kevin Cash, are known for optimizing performance by seeking advantageous matchups. The Tigers’ lineup will be crafted with southpaw Shane McClanahan in mind, while the Rays will stack right-handed hitters against Eduardo Rodriguez.

Tigers’ starting pitcher Rodriguez faces the Rays with a 2-5 record and a 5.59 ERA from 14 career starts. McClanahan, the Rays’ starter, boasts a 2.54 ERA and 194 strikeouts from last season and is motivated to improve further.

Bullpen Strategies and Injury Updates

The Tigers are still adjusting their bullpen after losing key late-inning relievers, while the Rays rely on matchups and leverage to determine usage. Both teams have some injuries to contend with, including Tyler Nevin and Michael Lorenzen for the Tigers and Tyler Glasnow, Shane Baz, Andrew Kittredge, and Shawn Armstrong for the Rays.

Players to Watch and Other Notable Facts

For the Tigers, keep an eye on Nick Maton and Riley Greene, who both had impressive Spring Training performances. On the Rays’ side, Luke Raley and Brandon Lowe shined during camp. The matchup also marks the 25th anniversary of the Rays’ first-ever game against the Tigers at Tropicana Field.

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Featured Image Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: March 30th, 2023Categories: Detroit Tigers, MLB

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