BOSTON -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced on Friday that right-hander Max Scherzer will get the start in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against Boston.
Scherzer will be followed by former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander in Game 3, while sinkerballer Doug Fister gets the call in Game 4 at Comerica Park.
The decision ensures that Verlander will take the mound on normal rest Tuesday night and Scherzer also receives four days off following his relief appearance in Game 4 of the AL Division Series against Oakland.
"This is the Final Four," Leyland said of the upcoming matchup against Boston. "They're putting a real good team out there and we're putting a real good team out there. They're putting a real good pitcher out there and we're putting a real good pitcher out there. That's what the Final Four is supposed to be."
Detroit's starting pitching will be key to any potential success against the Red Sox. The Tigers possess two of the top pitchers in the game with Scherzer and Verlander, while Game 1 starter Anibal Sanchez is fresh off a season in which he led the league in ERA (2.57).
For Scherzer, it means he'll start on the road once more for Game 2, and would do so again if the series heads back to Boston for Game 6. Statistically, it plays to his strength.
Scherzer went 9-2 with a 2.28 ERA on the road in the regular season, including a .915 WHIP and an average of just under seven innings a start. Then he delivered seven innings of two-run ball in Oakland to take Game 1 of the ALDS, striking out 11 Athletics.
Boston appears to hold an advantage in the bullpen, which will make the performance of Detroit's staff even more crucial. That's nothing new for this organization, but the Tigers appear well equipped to handle the pressure, considering they led the AL in strikeouts (981) and innings pitched (1,023).
Despite leading the Red Sox by a decent margin in all of those categories, the Tigers aren't about to take anything for granted, considering their offense will also face tough at-bats against the likes of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey and Jake Peavy.
"Both clubs have good rotations," Leyland said. "They both have four veteran pitchers. There are no breathers. You've got guys with good stuff and the ability to shut you down. You know these are going to be close games. It's not going to be like the regular season where you are hoping for a five-spot in the third inning and can cruise from there."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less