Tigers prefer deep bench to bullpen in Classic

Tigers prefer deep bench to bullpen in Classic

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said as early as Saturday that the club was planning on having the same roster for the World Series as it had for the previous two rounds of the postseason. He admitted, however, that there was some thought to carrying one more pitcher for an eight-man bullpen.

"The only question we were talking about was whether we would go to 12 pitchers or not," Leyland said.

The thinking went that with pinch-hitting situations potentially keeping relievers from throwing multiple innings, the Tigers could get some use out of the depth, especially in an extra-innings game.

In the end, though, Detroit opted to keep the versatility on its bench -- not just for pinch-hitting, but for defensive replacements and pinch-running.

Those factors all play into the challenge of managing an American League team in a National League park under NL rules.

"A lot of people have always talked about, 'It's much more difficult to manage in the National League,'" Leyland said. "I don't agree with that totally, because I think in the American League, you have to decide exactly when your pitcher is done. A lot of times in the National League, your decision is made for you because if you get behind in a game, you've got to pinch-hit."