The Tigers finally announced their 25-man roster for the American League Division Series Thursday morning after a delay due to the status of Rajai Davis.
The roster is comprised of 11 pitchers and 14 hitters. The Tigers will take on the Orioles, starting today in Baltimore. Game one starts at 5:37 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on TBS.
Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price, and Rick Porcello make up the starting rotation, with Scherzer getting the nod against Chris Tillman for Game 1.
Al Alburquerque, Anibal Sanchez, Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, and Joe Nathan fill in the bullpen, along with lefty Kyle Lobstein. Blaine Hardy and Jim Johnson did not make the final cut.
Alex Avila, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Andrew Romine, Nick Castellanos, J.D. Martinez, Rajai Davis, and Torii Hunter make up the starting lineup, with Victor Martinez serving as the designated hitter.
The Tigers bring along Bryan Holaday as their backup catcher, along with Hernan Perez and and Eugenio Suarez for infield support. Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera made the final roster, as well as utility player, Don Kelly.
Prior to Thursday's game Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said the roster remained undecided until 9:45 am, just 15 minutes before the deadline. Davis' recovery process had not been a guarantee, and until Ausmus met with Davis and Tigers trainers Thursday morning, he wasn't sure whether Davis would even make the roster.
Because of Davis' "up in the air" status, Ausmus wasn't sure whether he would carry 11 or 12 pitchers into the series. Thursday morning finally cleared that up, though it came down to the wire. Davis had been recovering from a sprained pelvic ligament — pubic symphysis sprain — and hadn't played in Sunday's final game of the regular season.
"We got here this morning, Rajai (Davis), myself and the trainers, about 8:30," Ausmus said. "He got some treatment doing and the strength trainer, Javair Gillette, took him outside, we do agility, explosive first moves, striding it out, and he looked fine and said he felt fine. He said he could play nine if he had to, and he said he could steal a base if he had to."
Ausmus said if the Tigers were in the middle of a regular season, he would have given Davis a few more days to recover, but that's not an option with the Tigers about to start the postseason. Ausmus admitted it does leave him somewhat cautious with regards to Davis' health, but the situation is what it is, and Davis passed every drill. As a result, Davis starts in center field on Thursday.
While Ausmus would have liked to carry 12 pitchers, he said he opted for 14 position players instead of 13 as a result of Davis just coming back from the injury. Had he carried 12 pitchers, Hardy would have been that reliever. It was a decision that Ausmus went back-and-forth on, but ultimately with Lobstein carrying the option of pitching in long relief, coupled with Hardy's recent struggles, Ausmus went with Lobstein.
As for why Ausmus went with Perez over Tyler Collins, it wasn't an easy decision either.
"Yeah, and that was another tough decision," Ausmus said. "The bottom line there is they have two left‑hand arms at the back of the pen there that are very good, so we liked the right‑handed bat in Perez. We're not a team that pinch‑hits a ton. The lineup is pretty much what you see is what you get. There are a couple of times that we pinch‑hit, but the reasoning is the back end of the bullpen."
The full roster is listed below.
62 RHP Al Alburquerque
44 RHP Joba Chamberlain
40 LHP Phil Coke
53 LHP Kyle Lobstein
36 RHP Joe Nathan
21 RHP Rick Porcello
14 LHP David Price
19 RHP Anibal Sanchez
37 RHP Max Scherzer
38 RHP Joakim Soria
35 RHP Justin Verlander
13 Alex Avila
50 Bryan Holaday
24 1B Miguel Cabrera
9 3B Nick Castellanos
3 2B Ian Kinsler
26 INF Hernan Perez
27 INF Andrew Romine
30 INF Eugenio Suarez
61 OF Ezequiel Carrera
20 OF Rajai Davis
48 OF Torii Hunter
32 INF/OF Don Kelly
28 OF J.D. Martinez
DESIGNATED HITTER (1)
41 Victor Martinez