KANSAS CITY -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't officially name his pitching rotation for the upcoming American League Division Series, other than reconfirming that Justin Verlander would be pitching the opener. However, he laid a pretty good hint on Tuesday.
"You feel pretty comfortable as a manager if you can run, in any order you want, Verlander, [Max] Scherzer, [Doug] Fister and [Anibal] Sanchez," Leyland said. "That's pretty good. I mean, you certainly don't feel like you're behind the 8-ball."
The names aren't exactly a surprise. The four were the key cogs to a Detroit rotation that posted a collective 2.46 ERA in September, best in the Majors by nearly half a run. The other options, lefty Drew Smyly and right-hander Rick Porcello, appear likely to end up in the bullpen.
Leyland said the Tigers will have a seven-man relief corps to go with their four starters. If the Tigers go with Smyly and Phil Coke as their left-handed relievers, they'll have to make a choice among Porcello and high-strikeout pitchers Al Alburquerque and Brayan Villarreal.