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Detroit Tigers' Opening Day Starter Skips Spring Training Start, But For Good Reason

The Detroit Tigers didn't send top starter Tarik Skubal to the mound on Monday against the New York Mets, but there's a good reason why.

The Detroit Tigers elected to skip left-hander Tarik Skubal's spring training start on Monday against the New York Mets, but don't worry, nothing is up.

The decision was made to have Skubal throw a 60-pitch simulated game instead because the Tigers face the Mets early on in the season and the Tigers didn't want New York getting an extra look at him.

Per Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press:

The Tigers play the Mets in the second series of the regular season, from April 1-3. Skubal is expected to pitch in that series, as well, so the Tigers didn't want to give the Mets an opportunity to prepare for him in a spring training game.

That's why three pitching prospects — left-hander Brant Hurter, right-hander Wilmer Flores and right-hander Ty Madden — covered seven of nine innings in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Mets.

That makes sense and means that we are close enough to the season for decisions like this to actually matter, which is also an exciting thing. Opening Day is just 16 days away. Skubal has already been named the team's starter for that game against the Chicago White Sox.

The lefty could be primed for a huge year in Detroit and he could be ready to anchor the entire staff. After returning from injury last season, Skubal went 7-3 with a 2.80 ERA for the Tigers, fanning 102 batters in 80.1 innings.

The Tigers finished second in the American League Central last season and are looking to make a big ascension this year. In addition to a full season of Skubal, they have a healthy Casey Mize and newly-signed Jack Flaherty and Kenta Maeda in the rotation. 

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