VerHagen set to start for Tigers on Saturday
While Max Scherzer is scheduled to make his next start in the nightcap of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader against Cleveland, the other starter is no longer TBA. The answer did not go as expected.
Credit Tom Reisenweber, who covers the Erie SeaWolves for the Erie Times-News, with the scoop:
— Tom Reisenweber (@ETNreisenweber) July 16, 2014
The Tigers confirmed the move on Thursday. VerHagen will start Game 1.
The expectation was that lefty Robbie Ray, who filled in for Anibal Sanchez while he was on the DL in May, would get the call. In fact, he got an extra day’s rest before his last start on Sunday, by all appearances to put him on track for a potential start this coming Saturday. Then he gave up eight runs on 11 hits over 4 1/3 innings to Pawtucket, leaving him with 12 runs allowed on 15 hits over 7 1/3 innings in his last two outings.
VerHagen, meanwhile, has pitched fairly well in the same Mud Hens rotation for the past month, allowing nine earned runs over 33 1/3 innings in his last five starts. He’s a right-hander, and the Indians field a predominantly left-handed lineup that hits 15 points higher off righties with a 70-point difference in OPS. However, the Tigers have shown the last couple years that they want their pitching call-ups to be based on who’s pitching best, not simply seniority or matchups. As Jim Leyland often emphasized, it’s a reward, not a given.
The Tigers can use MLB’s 26th-player rule for doubleheaders (a rule Jim Leyland helped get enacted a few years ago) to call up VerHagen without having to send anyone down.He’s not on the 40-man roster, but there are a few ways they can tackle that, including transferring Joel Hanrahan from the 15-day DL to the 60-day.