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.