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Justin Verlander in Line to Start Tiebreaker Game if Necessary, Game One of ALDS if Not


September 2, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) waves to the crowd as manager Jim Leyland (left) claps when he walks off the field after the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

It has turned out to be nothing that couldn’t be figured out with a calendar, a pen, and a five-beaded abacus but, according to James Schmehl on MLive, manager Jim Leyland has announced his starting rotation of the remainder of the season.

The Tigers don’t have an off day remaining on the schedule, so there’s little room for creativity when it comes to the rotation. It’s a strict five-man rotation with the lone variation being Smyly’s spot start in today’s double header.

September 23 vs. Minnesota – Max Scherzer (Game 1), Drew Smyly (Game 2)

September 24 vs. Royals – Justin Verlander

September 25 vs. Royals – Anibal Sanchez

September 25 vs. Royals – Rick Porcello

September 27 at Minnesota – Doug Fister

September 28 at Minnesota – Max Scherzer

September 29 at Minnesota – Justin Verlander

September 30 at Minnesota – Anibal Sanchez

October 1 at Kansas City – Rick Porcello

October 2 at Kansas City – Doug Fister

October 3 at Kansas City – Max Scherzer

Each regular member of the rotation will make two more starts, with the exception of Max Scherzer who’s scheduled for three starts (including today). As it stands, Verlander would be in line to start a tiebreaker game or the first game of the American League Division Series (or a Wild Card game, but that possibility isn’t likely).

I had been wondering if Leyland would attempt to give Justin Verlander a start or two on short rest to try to squeeze an extra start out of him, but it’s a difficult balance between the top two priorities of simply getting to the postseason and also making sure you’re team is set up optimally once you’re there.

If the Tigers are able to reach the playoffs without needing the tiebreaker game to get there, then they’d be set up for Verlander in game one and have the entire rotation rested by the time game two rolls around. The probably ALDS rotation in that case would be Verlander – Scherzer – Fister – Sanchez – Verlander. Not too shabby.

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