Verlander unavailable?

Detroit Tigers mananger Jim Leyland has made either the dumbest declaration ever or is completely full of it.

According to this story, “Leyland said Verlander won’t even be available out of the ‘pen” for ALDS Game Five in New York Thursday night.

This is absurd. Yes, Verlander threw 120 pitches on Monday, so he might be gassed right now. But this is a playoff elimination game. Every rule, every guideline—heck, every sense of rationality—has to be tossed aside if the game is on the line and Verlander can help.

Did Leyland watch Game Seven of the 2001 World Series, the game in which Randy Johnson came out of the bullpen the day after starting Game Six and got the save? Is Leyland plotting his rotation for an ALCS that his team might not reach? If so, he should be fired—now—and replaced with someone who will do whatever it takes to win Game Five.

The other, more palatable, option is that Leyland is blowing smoke and trying to get some small pyschological advantage. If so, he’s wasting his time. Joe Girardi will have CC Sabathia ready just in case, so he’s undoubtedly expecting Leyland to prep his own ace for the possibility of being pressed into duty.

Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill. But Leyland is, too, and for no good reason.

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  1. Jeff said...

    Seems more Leyland-esque to be blowing smoke here. And you can take that in both the figurative and literal sense.

  2. Nyet Jones said...

    Right on. And I think you’re fundamentally correct; not treating this as all hands on deck doesn’t seem very smart. It’s pretty clear what Leyland should be doing; I just wonder if he’s got some alternate logic for the situation, like a belief that they absolutely have to get 2-3 starts out of Verlander in the ALCS to have a shot. That combined with a stubborn faith in his bullpen might explain what he’s doing even if it doesn’t excuse / justify it.

  3. Nyet Jones said...

    Not to be a jerk, but Randy Johnson got the win, not the save. It’s pretty difficult to get a save when someone gets a walkoff hit for the win, after all. smile

    Your point is well taken regardless, but it’s also noteworthy that this is game five of the ALDS, not the world series – RJ was going to have five months to recover; Verlander may have to pitch next round.

  4. Greg Simons said...

    Um, yeah, my bad on the win/save confusion.  Thanks for clearing that up.

    And you’re right that Verlander may have to pitch next round, but the Tigers need to get there first.  And I believe Thursday would be his throw day anyway, so throwing in a game would be reasonable.

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