We had a boatload of updates from manager Jim Leyland yesterday that should help put the playoff rotation into focus.
The first bit was that Justin Verlander will not pitch on 3-days short rest. He's scheduled for Games 1 and 5. Let the second guessing begin, Leyland essentially told the media. Hopefully it doesn't come to Game 5 (for our hearts, if anything) to help Verlander be positioned well for the ALCS. But if it does come down to a deciding Game 5, well at least the Tigers will have Verlander on the mound. No second guessing here. By the way, Leyland said Verlander also won't go on 3 days rest if the Tigers reach the ALCS or World Series. So get those 3 starts in a 7-game series thoughts out of your head.
The second bit of information, as first told to radio play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson, was that Doug Fister would start Game 2 with Max Scherzer in Game 3. The off day and piggyback start this week allowed Leyland to make the switch. I think it's safe to assume Rick Porcello is fourth in line. (Man I hope so.)
As we first heard a few days ago -- though I didn't do a post on it -- Miguel Cabrera has taken fielding practice at third base. If the Tigers reach the World Series, Cabrera would likely play at third with Victor Martinez at first base and Alex Avila catching.
Another Leyland surprise: Victor Martinez is healthy enough to catch right now if needed. However, Leyland does not wish to prove this with actions, so we'll have to take his word for it. Leyland said Avila will probably catch for the final six games of the season.
So I think that's all the facts to report.
On the opinion side of things, MLB.com's Jason Beck wrote about the playoff roster on his blog. Some of his thoughts:
- All Al Alburquerque had to do last night was show he's healthy. He did that.
- David Pauley's case is hurt because he's a right-hander. Duane Below's is strengthened because he's a left-hander.
- Perry's probably in.
- The positional roster is totally up in the air right now thanks to lingering injuries sufffered by Wilson Betemit and Carlos Guillen. The latter can neither run nor swing a bat right now.
- Will Rhymes is a possibility, though he would make more sense in later rounds.
- Worth would make the most sense if Betemit was unable to play.
- They could still decide to keep Santos.