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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Still no playoff roster from Tigers, but rotation is set


The Detroit Tigers released their rotation plans for the American League Division series on Friday, but not their playoff roster as of Friday's scheduled workout at Comerica Park.

Why? Because it's not due yet.

"No, we pretty much have our roster in sync. We’re going to take the liberty of using the last hours to put it in like everybody else does," said manager Jim Leyland, who will turn it in at the 10 a.m. deadline Saturday. "I have my roster in my mind, but there’s always — you never know about a last‑minute issue or something like that. So we’re just going to take the allotted time and we’ll turn it in at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning. We’re not trying to deceive anybody. There’s no tricks here. It is what it is."

"But we just felt like — in speaking with Dave Dombrowski this morning, we felt like we’ll just put ours in when everybody else does. And for no particular reason other than the fact that — but you do never know. Some last‑minute thing could come up, somebody tweak an injury or something of that nature and you feel it necessary to make a move, and you still do that rather than have you guys all have it today and etch it in stone and tomorrow it’s changed. That’s the only reason for that."

Everyone made some early guesses at what the playoff roster might end up looking like, but visual evidence Friday might indicate that Rick Porcello will be on the roster — in the bullpen, rather than the rotation — taking the place of a guy like Brayan Villarreal.

The Tigers' rotation will go as follows: Justin Verlander in Game 1, Doug Fister in Game 2, Anibal Sanchez in Game 3 and Max Scherzer in Game 4, before resetting to Verlander in a potential Game 5.

Leyland said that Scherzer was pushed back that far, in part because he's just coming back from a pair of injuries — a deltoid strain that cost him two starts, then a twisted ankle that nearly cost him a chance to shake off rust in the regular-season finale. Scherzer made the start, throwing 75 pitches in four innings, giving him a total of 11 innings pitched and 200 pitches thrown since his last fully healthy start on Sept. 12.

"The reason we did that is because obviously Scherzer was coming off the little nagging (deltoid) thing there, and then on top of that the ankle thing," Leyland said Friday, noting that Scherzer spent Thursday with the Tigers' trainers, and checked out fine.

"And it also — it would only be one more day, but we figured we didn’t want Sanchez to sit too long. So take advantage of the Scherzer situation by having him follow Sanchez, and then have Sanchez pitch a day earlier than he would if he pitched in front of Scherzer so he wouldn’t sit too, too long, even though it’s been quite a while now.

"So that’s why that decision was made. It has nothing to do with ballparks or rotation, anything like that, other than that’s what we kind of thought about. And we thought with Scherzer, you know, getting back into it the other night in Kansas City for the five innings, came out of it real good. But just for a little precautionary measure to give him the extra day I think is probably smart."

Verlander has been lined up for this game — in the absence of a Game 163, obviously — for several weeks, but said that he's not going to handle it any differently. He was asked Friday if there was a way to step up that preparation for the postseason.

"I’m sure there is. But I’m going to try not to. I think I’m just going to try to maintain what I’ve been doing, try to keep it as normal as possible, just try to keep myself my regular routine and do what I would normally do on a home start. And not try to do anything extra. I think when you try to do extra stuff is when you find you get a little bit anxious and nervous," Verlander said. "I wouldn’t say I feel any more or less fresh (than this time last year). I felt like last year I prepared myself extremely well to be able to withstand the innings workload and feel good in the postseason. So I did the same thing this past offseason, and I would say I feel about the same."

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