Justin Verlander hasn’t been pitching too badly lately for the Detroit Tigers. In fact, he’s showing encouraging signs that he might be ready to give the team the excellent pitching they’ll need in the MLB playoffs.
But Verlander definitely should not be the Tigers’ no. 1 pitcher in the playoff rotation. At 13-12, he still hasn’t been the Verlander of old and manager Jim Leyland needs to go with his best pitcher, which right now would be either Max Scherzer or Anibal Sanchez.
If the first round goes the full five games, the No. 1 and possibly the No. 2 pitcher would get two starts, depending on how extensively Leyland wants to use this starters. He’s likely to use four, but maybe three, depending on the circumstances. Leyland will probably eventually go with Scherzer first and then will have a tough decision between Sanchez and Verlander for the No. 2 spot.
If the Tigers could win the first series and if Leyland is more impressed with Verlander than his other starters, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make the former AL MVP No. 1 again.
Leyland can’t manage in the playoffs like he does in the regular season. He has to forget about being an old-school manager and going with the guy who’s done the job over the years. He has to go with his hottest hand at that particular moment.
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