Verlander starts Monday, 5th starter Wednesday
The Tigers rotation is set for the first week or so of spring training, including the first look at the fifth starter competition.
Andy Oliver will start Friday’s exhibition against Florida Southern and lead a procession of young pitchers to pitch an inning apiece. Doug Fister will start the Major League spring training opener Saturday against the Braves at Disney World, then Max Scherzer will start Sunday in the back end of the home-and-home set.
Justin Verlander’s first start of 2012 will come Monday against the Blue Jays at Joker Marchant Stadium. Rick Porcello will make his first spring start Tuesday against the Marlins in Jupiter.
That leaves Wednesday as the fifth starter day. Jim Leyland didn’t say who would start, but said the order isn’t going to be important. It’s a piggyback day, meaning one starter will follow another and throw roughly to the same pitch count. A different candidate will start each time the fifth starter spot comes up.
Normally, you can take the spring training rotation, project it out every five days and figure out the pitching order for the first few games of the regular season. And sure enough, if you project Verlander out every five days, he’d be in line to pitch opening day on an extra day of rest, not that there was any doubt he’d pitch the opener anyway. But with scheduled off-days April 6 and 9, it’s very difficult to take this pitching order and figure out who will start the second and third games against the Red Sox April 7-8.