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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to defend their three straight American League Central titles.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Early guess at Tigers playoff roster

Manager Jim Leyland confirmed to reporters Tuesday that the Tigers would carry 14 hitters and 11 pitchers on the playoff roster.

Here’s an early stab at who those might be:

HITTERS:
1. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
2. Prince Fielder, 1B
3. Jhonny Peralta, SS
4. Omar Infante, 2B
5. Austin Jackson, CF
6. Andy Dirks, OF
7. Delmon Young, DH
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Gerald Laird, C
10. Quintin Berry, OF/PR
11. Avisail Garcia, OF/PR
12. Don Kelly, utility
13. Ramon Santiago, utility
14. Brennan Boesch, OF


PITCHERS:
1. Justin Verlander, SP
2. Max Scherzer, SP
3. Anibal Sanchez, SP
4. Doug Fister, SP
5. Jose Valverde, closer
6. Joaquin Benoit, set-up
7. Octavio Dotel, short relief
8. Phil Coke, lefty specialist
9. Al Alburquerque, middle relief
10. Brayan Villarreal, middle relief
11. Drew Smyly, long relief/extra starter

“I know everybody thinks I’m a real sentimental person, and I am, but this is not the time to be sentimental. We gotta try to make up a roster that we see as a real versatile roster for us, and will give us the best chance to move on in the postseason,” the manager said on FOX Sports Detroit’s pregame show, before Wednesday’s regular-season finale, explaining that the coaching staff had met that day. “I wanted to get the opinion of the coaches. ... I listened to their opinions first. I had my own, but I wanted to hear theirs first, because I don’t want everyone agreeing with me. It was pretty interesting.”

Leyland said that Garcia would for sure be on the playoff roster, and might even start the first game, should the Tigers face a lefty starter.

The only question marks, in my mind, were how many hitters were they going to carry. If it was 13, it would have come down to a three-way decision between Kelly, Santiago and Boesch. Considering how lightly used Boesch has been in September (and how much he's struggled in those chances, anyway), it would have been hard to see him make it in that scenario.

With a 14/11 split, though, it may be hard to see Rick Porcello (pictured above) make the squad. It'll probably come down to either he or Smyly for that long relief option. Yes, Porcello did that to an extent in last year's playoffs, helping out when rain dictated the necessity, but he’s not pitched well down the stretch, going winless in eight straight starts until the clincher Monday. Unless he gets a “Brad Penny memorial managerial loyalty exemption,” it’s hard to see Porcello make it over Smyly, who’s got the added bonus of being a versatile lefty. Another decision might possibly be to carry an extra lefty, Darin Downs, over a right-hander like Brayan Villarreal, who’s struggled of late, posting a 4.08 ERA since mid-August. Downs is holding left-handed hitters to a .171 average and no extra-base hits.

Unlike previous years, when the roster was due 24 hours before the first playoff game, this year Leyland does not have to turn in his roster until game time for Game 1 on Saturday.

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