(SportsNetwork.com) - Ricky Nolasco hopes to put a miserable 2014 season behind him on Wednesday when the Minnesota Twins continue their season-opening three-game set with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
There may not have been a bigger free agent flop in 2014 than Nolasco, who signed a 4-year, $49 million deal with the Twins and in turn provided the worst season of his career.
Nolasco went 6-12 and posted a career worst 5.38 ERA and also missed five weeks with a flexor pronator strain.
Detroit, meanwhile, will turn to one of Nolasco's former teammates in Miami, right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who was limited to 21 starts last season because of injuries.
When healthy Sanchez is one of the best pitchers in baseball, as over the last two seasons he ranks fourth in ERA, seventh in WAR, and has the lowest home run ratio allowed during that span. However, he's never gone over 200 innings in his nine year career.
The Twins know just how good Sanchez is, as he's posted a 2.60 ERA in 52 innings against them dating back to 2012.
Detroit got a tremendous performance from David Price on Monday, as the former AL Cy Young Award winner pitched into the ninth inning in a 4-0 win.
J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila each homered to lead the Tigers, who not only got production from old faces, but also a new one. Yoenis Cespedes doubled, tripled and scored two runs after being acquired in an offseason trade from the Boston Red Sox.
"When Miggy (Miguel Cabrera) and Victor (Martinez) don't have it, we have to find it from other places in the lineup," said Detroit manager Brad Ausmus. "Today we were able to do that."
Price (1-0), who the Tigers acquired from Tampa Bay last season prior to the trade deadline, got his third straight Opening Day nod and made the most of his first as a Tiger. The lefty went 8 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out five without a walk.
The Minnesota offense struggled in Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor's debut as skipper with the club. Molitor took over for long-timer manager Ron Gardenhire in the offseason.
"(Price) had a really good day," said Molitor. "We tried to get after him a little bit early. They made some nice plays and we couldn't seem to get off the schneid to get started. He just got stronger."
Torii Hunter, a former Tiger, went 0-for-4 in his first game back with the Twins. He started in right field and batted fourth. Hunter spent the first 11 years of his career with the Twins before defecting for six seasons.
Suprisingly, the Twins 10 of their 19 matchups with the Tigers last season.