Thursday, August 18, 2011

Whether Verlander starts Sunday for the Detroit Tigers won't make or break their season

There are reasons Jim Leyland isn't moving Justin Verlander out of his regular turn in the rotation and having him pitch Sunday against Cleveland.

Verlander has thrown a ton of innings this year and the extra day of rest, because of an off day, will help. The rotation is more flexible down the stretch if he pitches Monday at Tampa Bay instead.

Verlander is going to get eight starts - one way or another. It's too early to call any series "must win." Unlike the series on the road in Cleveland - where they had a long losing streak - the Tigers have done well against the Indians at Comerica Park (Leyland did move Verlander up to pitch vs. the Indians in the final game of a recent series in Cleveland, and he won it.)

But having said all that, if the Tigers lose the first two games of their weekend series with the Indians, Leyland has set himself up for criticism. Harsh criticism.

Fans are upset about this. Look. I would start Verlander Sunday, but I don't understand the outrage surrounding it. There is a long way to go in the season. This isn't like when Leyland didn't start Placido Polanco on the final Thursday of the season in 2009, or played Miguel Cabrera that Saturday, after he had a well-documented incident earlier that morning, reporting to the ball park with his face marked up like something from Mapquest. Or started the not-so-legendary Alfredo Figaro on the mound that Saturday.

It's one thing to have a sense of urgency. Another to overreact. Fans are overreacting. But given the Tigers' second-half collapses in recent years, it's understandable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again. Leyland thinks he is optimizing but he doesn't know a rat's behind about optimizing his talent.

I don't want to go into this but he doesn't understand maximin/minimum 1st derivative optimization.

Sparty surely didn't understand this also but he had a better "feel".

Throw Verlander 6 innings if you have to.

Long season to go? We're talking 40 games.

11:11 AM 
Anonymous woody said...

my first impression when hearing this decision by Leyland is that he's overthinking the problem.

it just seems straightforward to simply hand Verlander the ball every 5th day down the stretch and let the rest of the rotation settle in around his schedule. particularly when Verlander could pitch in a high leverage game at home.

it does however disrupt the usual order of the rotation, and baseball is a game filled with routines. considering the season Verlander has had, status quo should be tossed out the window on this one. doubt the manager would hear grumbling from any of the other starters.

leyland can rest him in another way down the stretch by going to the bullpen earlier. when rosters expand, the bullpen will be deep.

10:35 AM 

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