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Leyland ready to let Verlander loose vs. A's

Leyland ready to let Verlander loose vs. A's

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Leyland ready to let Verlander loose vs. A's

OAKLAND -- Don't expect Tigers manager Jim Leyland to put more starters in the bullpen for Game 5 of the American League Division Series vs. the A's. It worked in Game 4, when Max Scherzer followed Doug Fister in a tie game, but a Justin Verlander start is another story.

"I used a guy that had 22 wins last night out of the bullpen," Leyland said on a Wednesday conference call. "We were desperate. There was no tomorrow. You do what it takes. Hopefully, I'm not going out to the mound in the second inning tomorrow taking out Justin Verlander, because if I am, we're in trouble."

It was a reference to Game 4 of the Red Sox-Rays ALDS, in which Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon used nine pitchers and pulled starter Jeremy Hellickson after four outs. Had David Price been starting, Leyland said, it probably would've been different. In the case of Hellickson, however, Leyland thought Maddon handled it well.

"I thought he did a terrific job pitching his pitchers in and out," Leyland said of Maddon. "I think there was a plan to that. I think there was more to it, that he had to use a bunch of guys. I think it was smart.

"I don't think he wanted Boston to see the same pitcher very much. I think he wanted to get a guy in there and not let them go into a guy two or three times. I think he did absolutely tremendous."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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