The Detroit Tigers could not have asked for a better situation going into the 2012 World Series. They sit at home and rest while the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals battle it out for the NL pennant. While San Francisco and St. Louis use up valuable arms trying to advance, Detroit rests their most valuable property in pitcher Justin Verlander.
The Tigers wrapped up their four game sweep of the New York Yankees on Thursday. In that series their pitching staff shut down Yankee hitters to the tune of six runs in four games. Detroit shut out New York in game two. Verlander gave them one run in game three. It was the only game he pitched.
By defeating the Yankees in four straight. the Tigers did not have to pitch Verlander deep into the series. He has already thrown over 370 pitches in three post season games. If Verlander had gone to the mound for one more start in the AL Divisional Series he would have added another 120 pitches to that count. Now Detroit can use those 120 pitches in the World Series.
There is no doubt that manager Jim Leyland intends on pitching Verlander in games one, four and seven. He is their ace and one of the few pitchers that tries to go nine innings every start. When Verlander is on his game, Leyland can basically give his bullpen the night off. In the post season a pitcher who can throw seven innings consistently is like gold. Verlander throwing nine is platinum.
The rest of the Tigers pitching rotation and bullpen is getting much needed rest as well. Because of the team slump suffered by New York, Detroit did not have to overtax any of their staff. Except for the eighth inning of game one, the Yankees never put together a serious rally.
With everyone well rested and going against an NL winner that will have to play through Monday the Tigers know that they have an advantage. They will need it as their first two games will be on the road. The NL has home field advantage in the series as a reward for winning the all-star game.
The Tigers may need their pitchers to get it done in the series. It is not uncommon for teams who get an extended period of time off to lose their batting eye for a spell. If Detroit’s bats go silent their pitching staff may have to pull them through.
With the NLCS still going while they wait at home the Tigers pitching staff is getting plenty of rest.
Their most valuable commodity, Verlander, should be raring to go for game one and available to start two more if necessary.