Detroit Tigers Open 2012 Season with Three-game Sweep of Boston Red Sox; Looking Back on First Week of Play

Tigers Catcher Alex Avila's Assures Sweep of Sox, Props Tigers to 3-0

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Detroit Tigers Open 2012 Season with Three-game Sweep of Boston Red Sox; Looking Back on First Week of Play
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Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander poses with team owner Mike Ilitch (center) and Alex Avila to …

The Detroit Tigers' season-opening sweep of the Boston Red Sox was in serious jeopardy Sunday at Comerica Park in Detroit..

Detroit's pitching couldn't hold a 4-0 lead, and the Red Sox took advantage and jumped to a 6-5 lead in the third inning. Boston went on to claim a 10-7 advantage before Tigers thirdbaseman Miguel Cabrera belted a three-run home to send the game into extra innings.

While Boston's offense was playing at a much higher level than in two previous losses to Detroit, its pitching couldn't hold off the Tigers' bats. Catcher Alex Avila made sure Boston wouldn't spoil the Tigers' splendor with a two-run home run, giving Detroit a 13-12 win and a 3-0 record to start the season.

Now that the Tigers are 3-0, let's take a look at how they got there, along with skimming through a few highlights.

No Fist in Tigers' punch for at least two weeks

Doug Fister, Detroit's No. 2 pitcher, is on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a strain of his left side Saturday in the Tigers' 10-0 win over Boston. He threw just 3.2 innings, giving up three hits and striking out three batters before leaving the game.

He'll be of the utmost importance to the Tigers' rotation as a great complement to ace Justin Verlander.

Pitching woes?

Detroit's Max Scherzer was battered Sunday, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits. However, the rest of the staff didn't come to his rescue, surrendering a combined 10 hits and five runs.

But there is good news for Tigers followers: Detroit is 3-0. And those three wins came against a perennial American League power.

Play ball -- Opening Day 2012

Opening Day may have not been perfect, but Tigers fans were treated to eight scoreless innings from Verlander, who gave up just two hits. Jose Valverde came in for the save but was unsuccessful for the first time in 49 attempts.

There was a season-opening record crowd of 45,027 on-hand for the 3-2 Opening Day win -- not a bad gathering considering the chilly weather. But hey, it's Detroit. And Detroit loves its baseball. Tigers fans would have battled out colder weather in parkas and mittens to see Verlander, the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner, take the hill.

The Prince takes his throne

Prince Fielder hit his first two home runs with the Tigers during a 10-0 throttling of Boston on Saturday. He had two hits and scored two runs Sunday. The Prince is quickly becoming an icon in Detroit due to his powerful bat. And it doesn't hurt that he's the son of Tigers great Cecil Fielder, who routinely went deep for Detroit in the early 1990s.

Miggy being Miggy

If you've followed Tigers baseball, you're surely aware of Cabrera, or "Miggy," as he's affectionately referred to by his followers. He swings one of the most dangerous sticks in the game, and Sunday was no different. His game-tying home run sent the fans into a frenzy and kept alive the Tigers' chances of a sweep of Boston.

Cabrera will likely notch another 30 home run- and 100 RBI-season in 2012. In seven of his previous nine seasons, Cabrera hit 30 or more home runs and driven in 100 or more RBIs. It's safe to say he'll do the same this year -- he has eight RBI and three home runs so far.

Quick start something to get up about

There are 162 games in a Major League Baseball season. Three wins in the first three games are hardly reasons to jump for joy. However, something about the way Detroit played against Boston says otherwise.

Opening Day was a game that had fans on the edge of their seats. Game 2 of the series showed fans how Detroit could hit its way past a good team with good pitching, and Game 3 was like Opening Day times 10. The drama, the excitement; baseball is here.

Austin Jackson is swinging the bat well, Avila has picked up where he left off in 2011. Verlander is primed for a great summer.

Although the season is young, the Tigers are proving what their followers have known since the offseason: They're going to be a satisfying and entertaining team to watch in 2012.

Adam Biggers has followed Major League Baseball for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Tigers. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.

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