Recapping Detroit Tigers’ win at Chicago White Sox on opening day 2024

In 2023, the Detroit Tigers went 1-28 when scoring one run or less in a game. In 2024, the Detroit Tigers are 1-0 when scoring one run in a game. Eat your hearts out, White Sox fans: we took over your 2024 Opening Day and we stole your broadcaster! Tigers win, 1-0.

Today marked the first career MLB start for Chicago pitcher Garrett Crochet, who became just the 9th player all-time to make his first start on Opening Day — that list, by the way, includes both Fernando Valenzuela and Lefty Grove! Crochet’s last start at any level came on March 7, 2020, at the collegiate level for the Tennessee Volunteers, before the official start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nobody told Crochet any of that, however, as Tigers hitters struggled with him throughout the day. Andy Ibañez struck out in his ninth-ever MLB lead-off plate appearance on a Crochet slider low and out of the zone to kick off Detroit’s 2024 campaign, beginning six innings of soft contact and whiffs from Detroit’s bats.

Fortunately, the Tigers had six excellent starter innings of their own ready for today, courtesy of Tarik Skubal. For every moment of soft contact or swing-and-miss action from the Tigers at the plate, the White Sox replicated it. AL Central veteran Andrew Benintendi struck out on a check swing of a Skubal slider for Skubal’s first out of 2024, and five more White Sox hitters punched out against Skubal in his six innings of work today.

Heroes of the day

The hero of today’s pitching duel, of course, couldn’t have been scripted any better. Spring Training LVP Javy Báez, showered by boos by the South Side faithful, knocked a hard-hit single through to right field in the top of the third inning, then followed his hit with a stolen base on the very next pitch. After a Parker Meadows chopper advanced Báez to third, lead-off man Andy Ibañez recorded the only RBI of the day by reaching way out to poke a Garrett Crochet slider out to Luis Robert and score everybody’s favorite Tiger.

Despite Báez having the only run of today’s game, the rest of Opening Day was pretty eventful. Tigers rookie Colt Keith, who inked the first-ever Detroit extension for a player before his debut this offseason, notched his first career hit with an infield grounder that snuck past Crochet and second baseman Nicky Lopez. Mark Canha, meanwhile, worked the count all day long and drew the only walk of today’s game in his Tigers debut.

Perhaps most notable from the later innings of today’s action, however, were the performances from the Tigers bullpen. Shelby Miller managed a 1-2-3 seventh inning in his Tigers debut after pitching well for the Dodgers in relief last season. Andrew Chafin, in his first game back in a Tigers uniform, pitched four clean outs. Manager A.J. Hinch opted for the left-handed Chafin against two right-handed batters in Kevin Pillar and Martín Maldonado, but made quick work of both (and Nicky Lopez to end the eighth; and Andrew Benintendi to open the ninth).

While Andrew Chafin posted the most outs for Detroit’s bullpen today, Jason Foley’s two strikeouts were undoubtedly a huge highlight of Opening Day for Tigers fans. The high-leverage reliever pumped 100 mph gas past Yoán Moncada for the second out of the ninth, then pumped 101 mph past Luis Robert Jr. to end the game. Good golly!

Nothing like a good old-fashioned pitching duel (that Tigers fans were on the right end of!) to open the season. The official time on this one was just 2:03 as a result. Detroit will be back in action on Saturday when veteran Kenta Maeda makes his Tigers debut against Michael Soroka, who will be making his White Sox debut.

Other Notes of Interest

  • The White Sox and both team broadcasts honored Jason Benetti for eight years of service in Chicago’s booth today. Benetti appreciated the gesture while loathing the extra attention.
  • Spencer Torkelson notched two hits today after only managing seven hits all of Spring Training. Take that, reactionists!
  • Riley Greene went 0-for-4 and dived for a ball today.
  • Scott Harris interviewed with Jason Benetti and Craig Monroe. Nothing of note was said!
  • Today’s Starting Pitching: 12 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 14 K. That earned run comes to you courtesy of Garrett Crochet and not Tarik Skubal, thank you very much!

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