The Detroit Tigers pitching rotation is like stacking cups, constantly being moved around at rapid speed and hard to follow. For most teams having an unsettled pitching rotation with no clue really how to set it up would be a negative thing, however, the Tigers find themselves in this position simply because their entire rotation 1-5 is as strong as any in baseball. The difference between Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister is pretty much zero, and the difference between Doug Fister and Justin Verlander once again is minimal at best. Rick Porcello statistically is about equal with Justin Verlander so does that mean Rick Porcello should be given a shot in the rotation? Lots of questions and only one man knows the answer.
Given previous statements by Jim Leyland you can pretty much say that Justin Verlander will be in the starting rotation and Rick Porcello will be a go to guy in the bullpen. Not a shocking statement by any means, but Porcello really made a valiant push the final two months and will be a huge part of the team still. So with Justin Verlander in the rotation where do you put him? At this point you can’t put him ahead of Max Scherzer or Anibal Sanchez, two guys who are competing for the AL Cy Young and who I believe should be set as the 1-2 punch in the rotation. The big question is in Game 3 do you trust Doug Fister or Justin Verlander? A year ago you would laugh at anyone writing that, but this year it’s a serious question and could be the difference between the Tigers advancing or being eliminated.
I would set my rotation as Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Doug Fister. Some would put Anibal Sanchez first, some would put Justin Verlander last, but I think the way I set it is the most effective. One thing is for sure: Jim Leyland is going to mix it around and not really care what you think about it. Only one man knows how the rotation is going to be set right now, and he is too busy eating noodles to tell you just yet.