For the first time in seven seasons, Justin Verlander won’t take the hill for the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day, as that honor has instead been given to David Price.  

MLB‘s official Twitter account reported the decision by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus:

Although Verlander’s numbers have dipped in recent years, the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner is still a hugely popular figure in Detroit.

After posting a 4.54 ERA in 2014, though, Ausmus went in a different direction. According to Chris Iott of, Verlander wasn’t at all combative after the announcement was made: “Well, obviously it’s easy for Price to handle well. But Ver was great. He actually was. I don’t know how to describe it other than that he was great. When I told him, he handled it great. No one wants to be told they’re not starting opening day when they’re certainly a viable candidate.”

The Tigers acquired Price in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays last season, and the big lefty finished the campaign with 15 wins and a 3.26 ERA. Despite the fact that Price has clearly bypassed Verlander, James Schmehl of was surprised by the move:

After winning the AL Central last season, Detroit is expected to do so once again in 2015. In order to accomplish that goal and make a run at the World Series, though, both Price and Verlander must be big-time contributors.

While Price will be the first to toe the rubber this season, Verlander will still very much have an opportunity to redeem himself and return to the elite ranks.


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