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Tigers’ Justin Verlander back to dominant self

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The Major League Baseball season has officially started and here are some of the best images from a memorable first day.
USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO – Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander walked into the visiting clubhouse at 10:30 Tuesday morning, his ears covered by headphones, his dark brown eyes staring straight ahead.

He quickly dressed into his uniform, grabbed a scouting report on his chair, and paced back and forth, ignoring everyone around him.

If the Tigers are going to contend this year, if they’re going to delay any sort of sell-off, or if they’re even going to possibly make another run for their first World Series title since 1984, Verlander knows he needs to be, well, vintage Verlander.

Seven hours later, at precisely 5:42, he began his walk down the long tunnel of Guaranteed Rate Field, his fiancée and super-model Kate Upton alongside him, his parents and family behind him, with everyone laughing and joking along the way.

MORE MLB:

Verlander, again showing why he’s still one of the elite pitchers in baseball, dominated the Chicago White Sox in his ninth career opening-day start, a 6-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox. He was hitting 94-95 mph on the gun with a devastating curveball. He yielded six hits and two runs in 61/3 innings, striking out 10.

He became the first Tigers pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters in a season opener since Mickey Lolich in 1970.

Verlander may be 34 years old, with 11 years already in the big leagues, but he’s still on top of his game. He finished second in Cy Young Award voting to 23-game winner Rick Porcello a year ago, and after this spring and Tuesday’s opener,…

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