Posted on: October 9, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2011 2:12 pm
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Justin Verlander threw just 82 pitches in a rain-shortened start in Game 1, the Tigers considered changing their rotation and bringing their ace back a day early in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Sunday, they decided against it.
The team announced that Rick Porcello will start Game 4, as scheduled. Verlander will return in Game 5, assuming the Tigers win one of the next three games to keep the series going. The Rangers won the twice rain-delayed Game 1, 3-2, on Saturday night.
Rain is also in the forecast for Sunday night, and a baseball official told CBSSports.com's Scott Miller that MLB is concerned about starting a game that could be subject to multiple delays, and could throw off both teams' pitching plans. There's a chance that Game 2 could be postponed; if so, it would be played Monday, likely in the late afternoon.
In that case, baseball would drop the travel day from the schedule, and pick up with Game 3 on Tuesday in Detroit, as scheduled. No rain is in the Detroit forecast until Thursday, the day of Game 5.
That fits, with Verlander scheduled to pitch that day. The Tigers ace had his Game 1 start in the Division Series ruined by rain, and he pitched just four innings before the rains came Saturday in Texas.
"If anywhere in the country is having a drought, bring me in," Verlander said.
Verlander said Saturday night that he would be available to pitch Game 4, if asked. But since Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn't plan to use Verlander on short rest, Verlander would only make one more ALCS start, regardless. Given that, it makes more sense to have him at full strength in Game 5, rather than take a chance on having him at diminished strength in Game 4.
Porcello threw two innings after the rain Saturday, but threw only 22 pitches.
Saturday's rain had less effect on the Rangers' plans. C.J. Wilson threw 96 pitches, so bringing him back early was never a consideration.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 5:47 pm
The Tigers wanted to finish ahead of the Rangers. They wanted home field in the first round.
They didn't get it. They'll open up on the road, at Yankee Stadium, against the Yankees.
And maybe that's for the best.
Several days back, before anything had been decided, one member of the Tiger organization told me he thought they might be better off starting the playoffs on the road. Here's why:
The Tigers, as everyone knows, have Justin Verlander. They have Doug Fister, whose September numbers were even better than Verlander's.
With Verlander and Fister in Games 1-2 at Yankee Stadium, the Tigers will go in fully believing they can win either game. Then they get Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello pitching at home at Comerica Park, where each would have a much better chance of winning than they would on the road.
And if there's a Game 5, it's back in Yankee Stadium, but the Tigers come back with Verlander, who is capable of winning anywhere.
Interesting thought, whether it works out or not.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:27 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 9:37 am
What's it worth to win the American League East?
Not as much as it would be if the Twins were winning the American League Central again.
The East winner will almost certainly play the Central winner in the first round of the playoffs. The East runner-up will be the wild card, and will play the Rangers.
And the complicating factor is Justin Verlander.
If the Tigers win the Central, they get the East winner in a best-of-5 series, with the possibility that Verlander could start twice. If he wins twice, the Tigers would need just one win in any of the other three games to advance.
That's exactly what happened in the first round last year. The East winner, the Rays, lost twice to Cliff Lee. The Rays won two of the other three games against the Rangers, but it wasn't enough.
Meanwhile, the wild-card Yankees swept past the Twins.
The Yankees always beat the Twins. They did it again Thursday night, their 20th win in their last 23 games against Minnesota, including sweeps in the last two Division Series.
The Red Sox have been nearly as good, with 15 wins in their last 21 games against the Twins.
The Twins don't have a Verlander, or anyone close. In the playoffs, the Twins have had no chance.
Maybe the Tigers wouldn't have a chance, either, even with Verlander. Maybe the Indians or the White Sox will get past the Tigers and win the Central (the Tigers lead the Indians by 1 1/2 games and the White Sox by four, with the Indians coming to Detroit this weekend).
Maybe it's worth it to win the East, anyway, because if the Yankees and Red Sox both advance to the American League Championship Series, the team that wins the division would have home-field advantage.
But it sure would be easier if the Twins were winning the Central.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. Someone asked me the other day who starts Game 2 for the Yankees. My answer? Whoever looks best the last two weeks of the season. Maybe that could even be Phil Hughes, who starts Game 2 of this weekend's series, Yankees at Twins, Friday night (8:10 ET) at Target Field. Hughes' 6.55 ERA is the third-worst in the American League (minimum 40 innings) behind the Royals duo of Sean O'Sullivan and Kyle Davies. But Hughes has gone six innings in three straight starts (and four of the last five), allowing two runs or less each time.
2. The first round of the 2008 draft produced Buster Posey, who helped the Giants win the World Series. It produced Lonnie Chisenhall, Gordon Beckham, Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth, who are all part of this year's American League Central race. It produced Brett Lawrie, who the first-place Brewers traded to the Blue Jays to get Shaun Marcum. And it produced Wade Miley, the 24-year-old left-hander the first-place Diamondbacks called up when Jason Marquis broke his leg last Sunday. Miley, who grew up in Louisiana as a Braves fan, makes his big-league debut in Diamondbacks at Braves, Saturday afternoon (7:10 ET) at Turner Field. Miley will face Brandon Beachy, who was also eligible for that 2008 draft. He didn't go in the first round -- or any round -- and the Braves signed him as an undrafted free agent.
3. Tiger manager Jim Leyland reworked his rotation to make sure Verlander pitched against the Indians last week, and Verlander's win kept the Indians from a three-game sweep. Leyland chose not to rework his rotation again this week, and that means Rick Porcello will face Ubaldo Jimenez in Indians at Tigers, Sunday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Comerica Park. The Tigers are 14-9 with Porcello starting, but in 12 starts since June 12, Porcello has a 6.35 ERA. Verlander, who last pitched Tuesday (beating the Twins) is scheduled to start Monday night at Tampa Bay.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:50 am
Already this year, Josh Johnson has carried a no-hit bid into the eighth inning. And another into the seventh. And another into the sixth. And another into the fifth.
In five starts, he's never given up a hit before the fourth inning.
The easiest thing to do would be to predict that Johnson is going to throw a no-hitter this year.
And I'm not going to do it.
Not after talking to Edwin Jackson, I'm not.
Jackson threw a no-hitter last year, when he was pitching for the Diamondbacks. But when I asked him to guess who will throw this year's first no-no, he politely refused.
"How do you ever know?" asked Jackson, who now pitches for the White Sox. "Because if you'd have asked me if I was going to throw one, I'd have said, 'Never.' I'd have bet my paycheck that I'd never throw one."
How do you know?
"I always said I'd never throw one," said Mark Buehrle, Jackson's White Sox teammate. "And I've got two."
Buehrle was willing to guess, though.
"Somebody like [Justin] Verlander or Josh Johnson," he said.
Verlander has thrown a no-hitter, in 2007 against the Brewers. Johnson hasn't -- yet.
Johnson gets another chance Saturday in Cincinnati.
On to 3 to watch:
1. Since the start of 2009, Tim Lincecum has at least one win over every National League opponent, with one exception. Would you guess it's the Nationals? Lincecum lost his only start against the Nationals last year, and a Bob Howry blown save cost him a potential win in 2009. He gets another chance in Giants at Nationals, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Nationals Park.
2. Back in spring training, we asked when Alex White would make his debut with the Indians. We didn't guess it would be in April, and we didn't guess he'd be joining a first-place team. It is, and he is. The Indians' 2009 first-round pick is only getting a chance this soon because of two injuries to starting pitchers, but he will get a chance in Tigers at Indians, Saturday night (6:05 ET) at Progressive Field. One oddity, though: White is actually four months older than Rick Porcello, the Tigers' Saturday night starter. Porcello will be making his 63rd big-league start.
3. You wouldn't think Johnson would no-hit the Reds. The Reds haven't been no-hit since 1971 (Rick Wise) . . . unless you count that Roy Halladay no-hitter in the playoffs last year. Then again, Johnson's first major-league win came in Cincinnati, and in that game he allowed no hits . . . in three innings of relief. But no, I'm not predicting he throws a no-hitter in Marlins at Reds, Saturday night (7:05 ET) at Great American Ballpark. How do you know?
Posted on: April 1, 2009 10:47 am
Edited on: April 1, 2009 10:50 am
The Tigers have indeed decided to put 20-year-old Rick Porcello in their starting rotation and 22-year-old Ryan Perry in their bullpen. General manager Dave Dombrowski announced the decisions this morning in Lakeland, Fla.
The decisions hardly come as a surprise. The Tigers had been strongly leaning towards keeping both young pitchers for at least the last few weeks, and both Porcello and Perry have impressed scouts all spring with their stuff and their maturity.
But Porcello has pitched only one season of pro ball, and that was at Class A Lakeland. Perry, the team's top draft pick last year, has only 13 2/3 innings, none above Class A.
One scout who has seen Perry suggested over the weekend that for the Tigers to win this year, Perry eventually has to become their closer.
Unlike many other teams, the Tigers have never been afraid to rush pitchers to the major leagues. Jeremy Bonderman was in their rotation when he was 20, and in 2006 the Tigers promoted 23-year-old Justin Verlander and 21-year-old Joel Zumaya to the big-league club.