His decision got tougher Wednesday night. Many observers are saying that Leyland should stick with his long-time ace Justin Verlander even though their former AL MVP has had a sub-par season. Others are saying that Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer should be the man, although Scherzer hasn’t been sharp in recent appearances.
What about Anibal Sanchez? On Wednesday night, Sanchez improved his record to 14-7 with a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox. In his last 10 games, Sanchez has given up a combined 15 earned runs while fanning 61 batters in 66.1 innings.
During the offseason, Sanchez was a free agent and was being courted by other teams. The Tigers shelled out a lot of money to keep him as a part of their five-man rotation. Many thought they spent too much money keeping him, although they’re not saying that anymore. They had to renegotiate a contract extension with Verlander so he wouldn’t be making less than Sanchez.
Granted, the White Sox aren’t the type of team the Tigers will see in the playoffs, but Sanchez’s performance still has to make Leyland think seriously about his starting staff situation right now.
When it comes to deciding on his postseason pitching rotation, Leyland needs to make sure Sanchez gets two starts in any series that goes the distance. He’s been that good, and the Tigers need to use him as much as anyone else in the starting rotation.