October 6th, 2013

Leyland on Alburquerque/Veras decisions

Jose Veras was last spotted warming up during Max Scherzer’s 7th inning in Game 1. When the Tigers went to Drew Smyly in the 8th, Veras wasn’t seen again, shelved in favor or Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit. He didn’t warm up at all in Game 2, and he was spotted before the game with his shoulder wrapped.

Is this the case of a role change, or something else?

“Alburquerque has had kind of a hot hand,” Jim Leyland said Sunday, “so he’s been getting some strike outs. He kind of had a hot hand and that’s why we went with him.  But we’ll be using Veras in the series.  Absolutely nothing wrong with him.”

Sunday’s off-day should mean everybody available in Detroit’s bullpen, though Alburquerque’s 22 pitches in Game 2 might warrant checking on his status Monday morning.

Alburquerque had been rolling into this postseason with the best month of his season, and he continued it with back-to-back strikeouts on sliders to keep the game tied after eight innings. He came back out in the ninth, though, and saw the A’s hit back-to-back singles on sliders after he fell behind in the count.

Veras last pitched in the opener at Miami with a 25-pitch eighth inning. He’s apparently healthy, but Leyland opted against his setup man in the eighth inning of Friday’s ALDS opener.

Peralta to start in left field tomorrow

After the Tigers put Jhonny Peralta on their Division Series roster, then struggled offensively through two games, you had a feeling this was coming. It was more a matter of when.

Jhonny Peralta will start in left field at Comerica Park for Game 3 Monday afternoon. It’s a risky move for multiple reasons, but at this point, it’s one Jim Leyland’s willing to make to try to spark his moribund offense.

Peralta is just 1-for-9 off Oakland starter Jarrod Parker. Andy Dirks is 3-for-11, but his hitting the last few weeks has shown even favorable matchups have betrayed him.