April 7th, 2009

Leyland on Verlander

In the aftermath of last night’s season-opening bouncing of Justin Verlander, manager Jim Leyland was ready to make some points on his young ace. One of the first points is that he shouldn’t feel like he has to be the ace.

“The biggest thing with Justin Verlander, in my opinion, I think he’s got to eliminate putting too much pressure on himself to be the horse of the staff,” Leyland said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself that he doesn’t have to put on himself. …

“It sounds cold, and maybe it is, but No. 1 guys aren’t designated. They’re No. 1 guys becuase they pitch real good. I think Justin Verlander has every capability to do that.”

Leyland insists he isn’t worried about Monday’s outing. He likes the adjustments he made in Spring Training. He just needs to stick with them. But he made another point about the way Verlander gears up with his fastball at times.

“With the way he pitches and the assortment he’s got,” Leyland said, “he doesn’t have to pitch max effort in my opinion.”

In other words, he can be more effective at 93-94 mph than at 96-98. Considering all that was made about Verlander and a velocity drop last season, that’s an unexpected point for him to make. We’ll see where that leads.

Lineups, anyone?

TIGERS

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, LF
  6. Laird, C
  7. Thames, DH
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Everett, SS

SP: Jackson

BLUE JAYS

  1. Marco Scutaro, SS
  2. Aaron Hill, 2B
  3. Alex Rios, RF
  4. Vernon Wells, CF
  5. Adam Lind, DH
  6. Scott Rolen, 3B
  7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  8. Rod Barajas, C
  9. Travis Snider, LF

SP: David Purcey

No alcohol at game tonight

It’s very much a coincidence, since the news came out over the weekend well before Monday’s game, but there will be no alcohol sold at Tuesday’s Jays-Tigers game. It’s one of three nights at Rogers Centre that will be alcohol-free (two for the Jays, one for the Argonauts in August). I would still expect the Magglio chants to be going, though.

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