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Jim Leyland reiterates that Justin Verlander will not pitch on short rest

Oct 11, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

Justin Verlander Reuters

With the Tigers down 2-0 to the Rangers in the ALCS some managers would be tempted to bring back Justin Verlander for Game 4 on short rest, but Jim Leyland reiterated yesterday that he doesn’t consider that an option.

Or in his exact words: “He’s pitching Game 5.That’s a slam dunk. That is the end of the conversation.”

Verlander threw just four innings and 82 pitches Saturday in Game 1 and has a well-earned reputation as an incredibly durable workhorse, but Leyland will stick with Doug Fister in Game 3 and Rick Porcello in Game 4. Porcello actually threw two innings and 22 pitches in relief of Verlander in Game 1.

Here’s more from Leyland:

What people don’t realize is, you’ve got to win four games. Nobody might believe this–the public, the TV people might not want to and everybody else–but let me tell you something: At this point, from what I’ve seen, pitching Justin Verlander on the fifth day is two-fold. It’s the best thing for Justin Verlander, and it’s the best thing for the team. Trust me when I tell you that.

This decision is different than most short-rest debates because in this case moving up Verlander to Game 4 could also potentially make him available for Game 7. So it’s not simply a decision about pitching him on three days’ rest or four days’ rest, it’s a decision about starting the Tigers’ ace two times or three times in the seven-game series.

It’s obviously a moot point, because Leyland isn’t comfortable with Verlander going on short rest. And also because thoughts of a Game 7–or even a Game 5–would require the Tigers to start winning.

  1. frankvzappa - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    If Orel Hersheiser didn’t pitch his ass off in 1988, the Dodgers wouldn’t have even won the NLCS, much less the WS. How can Leyland be so frigging obtuse? I really don’t think now is the time to be coddling Justin Verlander. Leyland is a moron. That’s right, I went there.

    • dodger88 - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      The unfortunate reality is that Hershsier’s arm basically fell off in 1990 and he was never dominating again. I wouldn’t trade anything for what transpired in 1988 but it wasn’t my arm that suffered for it.

    • phukyouk - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      “How can Leyland be so frigging obtuse”
      What did you call me?

      • frankvzappa - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        Obtuse. Is it deliberate?

  2. cubsrice - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron had a pretty good analysis of the situation today:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/desperate-times-call-for-logical-measures/

    • Kyle - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:27 PM

      Word. The Tigers have to win 4 games either way. Moving Verlander around doesn’t really make much of a difference. The issue should be with Leyland’s strange insistence to coddle Verlander like this and limit his team’s chances of winning.

  3. jimbo1949 - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    The missing part of the quote: “because I’m Jim Leyland and you’re not.”

  4. nolanwiffle - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    If they’re down 0-3….Verlander starts Game 4.

  5. dailyrev - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    I don’t know where people come off calling this man a “moron,” but I’d suggest it’s a projection (as in, that shoe is quite firmly on the foot of the projector). This man was proving his worth in this game back when these name-callers were sitting in their shit. So here’s a translation of Leyland’s remarks that maybe anyone can understand if they put down their torches and think: people perform very well when they are not panicking; but fear and self-doubt break down performance as fast as…a four game sweep. I’ve said this in corporate boardrooms (and gotten into trouble for it, too): if you want to see failure, let your message be Panic. That’s what JL is telling his team and its fans today.

    • brianbowman16 - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      I agree one thousand percent.
      The same people calling him a moron and obtuse, are the same idiots who said they wouldn’t win the central this year, and said they wouldn’t get past the Yankees
      Nobody is noticing that Justin is NOT the same pitcher he was a month ago, he just does’t look dominating at all, except for those 3 innings in new york before he let them tie the game

      Maybe, JUST MAYBE, Leyalnd knows the guy who has pitched for him for 6 seasons just a LITTLe better than the moron fans

    • Matt - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

      It’s not panic to put your team in the best position to win, it’s simply logic. And, in my opinion that means doing many things that Leyland consistently doesn’t do…such as putting hitters that get on base in front of Miggy/VMart so they have someone to drive in, not bunting in the first inning which decreases the team’s odds of scoring multiple runs, and in my opinion it means the rotation should have been JV, Max, Fister, JV, Max Fister, JV in this series with Porcello available as a long reliever if any of the better pitchers showed up with less than their best stuff due to the short rest.

  6. canucks18 - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Verlander will start game 4 if he’s ready to go! It is a move by Leyland to keep the Rangers from having themselves “ready” for Verlander

  7. Lukehart80 - Oct 11, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    “He’s pitching Game 5. That’s a slam dunk.”

    Unless of course, there is no Game 5, in which case it’s more of a lay-up that clanged off the front of the rim.

  8. txnative61 - Oct 12, 2011 at 4:43 AM

    If they win, the players came up big, if they lose it’s Leyland’s fault. That part won’t change. It’s why he gets big bucks.

  9. txnative61 - Oct 12, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    “Scapegoat” In ancient times, villagers would lead a goat through the village, throwing things and heaping insults and abuse on him, representing their own sins and shortcomings. Thus banished from the village, he was often thrown over a cliff.

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