October 6th, 2011

No on Verlander, very much yes on Scherzer

Justin Verlander threw his side session in the visiting bullpen at Yankee Stadium earlier today, well before batting practice. If you were still hoping, after all that Jim Leyland has said the last couple days about not using him in Game 5, that he would be available in relief tonight, that’s definitive news that he won’t.  If he was going to pitch in relief, the Tigers would have held him back from his side session and saved those throws. The fact that he threw today means the Tigers want him ready for Game 1 of the ALCS, if they get there.

Max Scherzer is another story. Leyland told reporters after his press conference that Scherzer told pitching coach Jeff Jones he felt he could throw 100 pitches tonight. Doesn’t mean he will, obviously, but it means he has a fresh arm if they need it.

“If we need to go long, I’m going to go to Scherzer,” Leyland said. “If we get to the late innings, I’m going to [Joaquin] Benoit and [Jose] Valverde. It’s that simple. If I need Coke to get one lefty out in a big situation, I would probably go to him. Other than that, you would probably not see any other pitchers tonight. If you do, we got beat.”

In fact, if Leyland has to go to his bullpen in the middle innings, he might turn to Scherzer.

If the Tigers use any relievers besides those four, and it isn’t extra innings, it’s not a good sign.

ALDS Game 5: Tigers at Yankees

Considering Jim Leyland answered many of the questions about his lineup in his press conference yesterday, there wasn’t much suspense left. Second base, however, he hadn’t answered. Ramon Santiago gets the start there, batting ninth and getting the shot against Ivan Nova that he didn’t have in Game 1 (since Raburn was in the lineup to originally face Sabathia).

As for the batting order, Don Kelly moves into the second spot, where he had a string of starts back in June while Brandon Inge was out with mono. Magglio Ordonez bats sixth to provide a veteran bat in an RBI situation behind Victor Martinez.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Don Kelly, 3B
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

P: Doug Fister

YANKEES

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Curtis Granderson, CF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  6. Nick Swisher, RF
  7. Jorge Posada, DH
  8. Russell Martin, C
  9. Brett Gardner, LF

P: Ivan Nova

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