Detroit Tigers Decide to Keep Pitching Rotation Same for World Series

By Chris Katje

There’s an old saying not to fix what isn’t broken. With the Detroit Tigers starting pitchers posting a 2012 Playoffs ERA of 0.66, manager Jim Leyland has decided to keep his rotation the same for the World Series. Despite the bullpen struggles, the Tigers starting pitchers have been amazing in the 2012 postseason. I wrote recently about the strong starting Tigers pitching staff helped lead to a Yankees sweep and kept the New York Yankees offense off the board in many innings.

The Tigers are set to take on the winner of the NLCS featuring the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Leyland said his rotation will remain the same no matter who their final opponent is. Justin Verlander will start Game 1, and will be followed by Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Max Scherzer.

The World Series schedule is as follows:

  •  Game 1: Wednesday October 24th
  • Game 2: Thursday October 25th
  • Game 3: Saturday October 27th
  • Game 4: Sunday October 28th
  • Game 5: Monday October 29th
  • Game 6: Wednesday October 31st
  • Game 7: Thursday November 1st

Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 will be played in either St. Louis or San Francisco, while Games 3, 4, and 5 will be played in Detroit at Comerica Park. The National League secured home field advantage in the World Series after winning the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.

Verlander has pitched in three games this postseason, the most by a starting Tigers pitcher. Verlander has a perfect 3-0 record in 24.1 innings. The Tigers ace has twenty five strikeouts and five walks, and is averaging 125 pitches a contest. Verlander has given up two earned runs in the Playoffs, both home runs. Verlander has an ERA of 0.74, the lowest of the Tigers starters.

Fister has not earned a win or loss in his two starts this postseason. The Tigers pitcher has seen 13.1 innings. Fister has an ERA of 1.35, after giving up to earned runs on twelve hits. Fister has thirteen strikeouts and six walks, and has averaged 106.5 pitches per game.

Sanchez has a 1-1 record in his two postseason starts. The Tigers pitcher has thrown ten strikeouts and five walks through 13.1 innings pitched. Sanchez has an ERA of 1.35, after giving up two earned runs. Sanchez averages 105.5 pitches per postseason contest.

Scherzer has a 1-0 record through the 2012 postseason. The Tigers normal number two pitcher is still recovering from an injury and has only thrown an average of 94.5 pitches per contest as a result. However, Scherzer does have eighteen strikeouts and only three walks in 11.0 innings pitched. Scherzer has an ERA of 0.82, after giving up only one earned run in his two games.

There would be a possibility that Scherzer would not get the start in Game 5 if the Tigers are trailing in the series. Before Leyland announced the rotation, analysts and fans had speculated that the Tigers manager would utilize Verlander in games one, four, and seven.

Verlander pitched one game against the Cardinals during the 2012 season. The Tigers’ ace got a win from seven innings pitched and one earned run given up. Both Fister and Scherzer did not pitch against either the Cardinals or Giants. Sanchez has experience against both the Cardinals and Giants during the regular season. Sanchez threw in two contests against the Giants and had a 1-1 record. Sanchez threw for twelve strikeouts and three walks in 12.1 innings. Against the Giants, Sanchez had an ERA of 4.38. Against the Cardinals, Sanchez had an ERA of 3.46 and a 1-0 record. Sanchez pitched 13.0 innings and had seven strikeouts and two walks.

With the Giants and Cardinals caught up in a Game 7 to decide the NLCS winner, the Tigers are well rested and will face a team with a tired pitching staff.

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