AJ Hinch explains why he tabbed Matthew Boyd as Opening Day starter

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The Detroit Tigers will officially take the field for the 2021 season for the first time on April 1 at Comerica Park against the division rival Cleveland Indians in front of thousands of fans.

Earlier today, new skipper A.J. Hinch officially announced that Matthew Boyd would be taking the mound as Opening Day starter:

Hinch then joined media members virtually to explain his decision, and began by stating the presence that a veteran like Boyd brings to the rest of the group.

“He’s a great presence on our team, but he’s also a continuous learner,” Hinch said. “Coming off the season he did last year, he’s pitching with something to prove.”

Naturally, Boyd will be looking to prove that he can still cut it as a starter in the Majors. 2020 was certainly a season he’d like to get behind him as quick as possible, with a 3-7 record combined with a 6.71 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP.

But for Hinch, he appreciates Boyd’s efforts to turn the page and continue to improve his game while also being a player that others gravitate towards for leadership.

“He’s always continuing to try to get better,” Hinch said. “He takes everything about our pitching staff personally. He’s a leader, a guy people turn to.”

“While he worries about getting himself back on track to be the pictcher he was in the past, I’ve appreciated how he’s approached his Spring (training).

Opening Day is always a massive celebration for a team’s respective city and fans. And while Comerica Park won’t be filled to capacity as per normal, there will be a number of Tigers fans thanks to eased COVID-19 restrictions. The atmosphere of Opening Day combined with the excitement of the fans is a big reason why Hinch stated being named the official starter is an important thing.

“I think it matters to the pitcher, it’s the first game of the year and what comes with that is a great buzz and excitement,” he said. “The first time we roll out in front of the fans…there’s a special feel to it.”

– – Quotes via The Detroit Free Press Link – –