The Tigers have got to show up strong in April. Detroit opens the season with 9 games total against KC and Cleveland (6 at Comerica) before going on an 11-game, 11-day road trip to Seattle, Los Angeles and Texas. Then the Tigs return home for 3 against Minnesota and 3 against the Angeles (that spill into May). Then it's 3 at the Twins.
So, after getting two days off in their first 9 games, Detroit plays 20 straight days, with 14 on the road. The Tigers then get an off day and then go 17 in a row against Cleveland, the Yankees, Boston, White Sox, Oakland and Dodgers. Cleveland, Oakland and LA are on the road.
The Tigers have got to take advantage of KC and Cleveland right off the bat. After those 9 games, Detroit does not play a team with a 2009 losing record until seeing Cleveland again on May 7. In fact, of the Tigs' next 39 games after the KC-Cleveland opening stretch, 32 are against teams with winning records from last year.
If Detroit fails to start quickly, it could -- as Yogi observed -- get late early.