The Tigers are blessed with an abundance of quality starting pitching, which left the team with a difficult question. Who gets the number one slot in the playoff rotation?
The question was answered by Jim Leyland this afternoon: Max Scherzer.
The Tigers' starting rotation for the ALDS:
- Game one in Oakland: Max Scherzer (21-3, 2.90 ERA)
- Game two in Oakland: Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.45 ERA)
- Game three in Detroit: Anibal Sanchez (14-8, 2.57 ERA)
- Game four in Detroit (if necessary): Doug Fister (14-9, 3.67 ERA)
If game five is necessary, thanks to the extended playoff schedule both Scherzer and Verlander will have enough rest to get the start. Leyland stated he anticipates his starter would be Scherzer.
You could make a legitimate argument for for any of the the Tigers' top three starters to get the nod. There's the probable AL Cy Young winner in Scherzer, the AL ERA leader in Sanchez and one of the best pitchers of his generation in Verlander.
In 2013, Scherzer has pair of no-decisions against the A's with a less than stellar 4.91 ERA in 11 innings.
Verlander leapfrogging over Sanchez does make sense when you take into account his success in last year's ALDS against the Athletics (2-0, 0.56 ERA in 16 innings), including a complete game shutout on the road in the series clincher. This season versus the A's Verlander is 1-1 with a solid 3.27 ERA in 11 innings of work.
Sanchez has faced the A's twice this season, posting a 1-0 record and 3.75 ERA in 12 innings over two starts.
Fister has had the least amount of success against the A's in 2013. He's 0-1 with a 12.60 ERA in his only appearance.