Leyland maps out All-Star pitching plan after Scherzer
While Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer received the honor of starting for the American League in the All-Star Game, Chris Sale and Matt Moore are on track to cover innings for the AL as the Midsummer Classic.
AL All-Star manager Jim Leyland said that Tuesday afternoon that Scherzer will pitch only the first inning, no matter how few pitches he throws. Leyland plans on using Sale, the White Sox ace, for two innings once Scherzer finishes with the first.
“The plan right now is Felix Hernandez for an inning,” Leyland said, referring to the fourth inning. “The plan after that is Moore for an inning or possibly two, but an inning for sure. And then fill in with some bullpen guys. But as the game goes on, you might see what happens.”
Leyland reiterated his plans to use Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in either the eighth or ninth inning, depending on the score, to try to finish out Rivera’s final All-Star Game.
At least one AL pitcher, probably two, will be held back in case the game goes to extra innings. It will not necessarily be the pitchers that were added to the roster in recent days, a list that included Orioles starter Chris Tillman, Royals closer Greg Holland and A’s closer Grant Balfour.
Other available starters on the AL roster, pitchers capable of covering multiple innings if needed, include Tillman and Cleveland’s Justin Masterson. The pitchers will know before the game starts.
Whoever gets the assignment could well lose out on an All-Star appearance if the game doesn’t go extras, but Leyland said they had to map out a pitching plan for a potentially long game. After extra-inning games extended All-Star rosters to the brink of running out of pitchers, as they did in 2002 and nearly did in 2008, managers are required to have a game plan in case of a long evening.
“I have to guarantee pretty much that I have accounted for 15 innings of pitching,” said Leyland, who worked out the plan with Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones.
Sale is making his second consecutive All-Star appearance. He pitched the sixth inning in last year’s game at Kansas City. Moore is making his All-Star debut.