Tigers set ALCS rotation

The Tigers are sticking with what worked in the ALDS in terms of their rotation. Nate Robertson will pitch game 1 and he’ll be followed by Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, and Jeremy Bonderman. This will be ripe with second guessing.

First of all, Robertson had the least success against the Yankees, and he’s had the least success against the A’s this season.

Second, everyone by now is aware that Kenny Rogers has proven to be nearly invincible pitching in Oakland.

Third, the A’s have hit lefties better this season with a 790 OPS against southpaws as opposed to a 740 OPS against righties.

Despite all that, I don’t think it will make that much of a difference. As I said prior to the Yankees series, the Tigers have 4 very good pitchers that are all pretty similar. That right there negates some of the impact of the ordering.

As for Kenny Rogers success in the Coliseum, it is true that he has a 26-4 record with a 3.46 ERA. His other Coliseum stats are K/9 – 5.0, BB/9 – 3.4, HR/9 – .88, and K/BB – 1.47. The thing is, Kenny Rogers is pretty good in Comerica Park also. There he posts a 3.32 ERA, K/9 – 4.6, BB/9 – 2.7, HR/9 – .69, and K/BB – 1.72. In fact there’s really no drop off.

As for Leyland’s reasoning, I can only speculate. Maybe he wanted to show confidence in Robertson, or avoid a long lay off for him. Maybe he didn’t want to saddle Verlander with the pressure of a game 1 assignment, or he wanted to still try and limit his workload. Maybe he wanted Jeremy Bonderman Kenny Rogers to be pitching in a potential game 7.

Now if I were picking a rotation (knowing that Bonderman can’t go in either game 1 or 2) it would be Verlander-Rogers-Bonderman-Robertson. But in the end, I don’t really see it being a big deal.

5 Comments

  1. Ken from Jersey

    October 9, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    I suppose the main reasoning was: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. To juggle the rotation might send the wrong message. Robertson has already endured what will quite possibly be the toughest starting assignment of his life, Game 1 in Yankee Stadium.

    This way, the first time through, Robertson pitches on 6 days rest, Verlander on 5, Rogers on 6 and Bonderman on 6.

    Of course, they could skip Robertson, which then puts everyone else on a more “normal” schedule. However, if by chance the Tigers are down 1-2 heading into Saturday (which would simply mean everyone holds serve, so to speak), then it would fall to Robertson on 10 days rest.

    I’m not sure how Robertson pitches on extended rest, but the chance of a rusty Robertson taking the mound in such a pivotal game isn’t appealing. The other option would be to skip him again (and show no confidence in him at all for the ALCS) and send out Verlander on 3 days rest. Verlander, I think we’ve seen, is better on regular to longer rest at this point.

    So it comes down to this: If it’s 1-2 heading into Saturday, do you want Bonderman on 6 days rest or a very well rested Robertson or short rested Verlander? I want Bonderman.

    Then, depending on the situation, you can continue with the rotation or start bumping up guys on 3 days rest. I think this is more sensible. And if Robertson and/or Verlander win one or both of those first two games in Oakland, then you’ve really got options.

    Hopefully, all this is rendered moot by the Tigers just continuing to roll.

  2. Sam

    October 9, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    If Nate really struggles they could bring back Verlander/Rogers/Bonderman on short reat, although I wouldn’t advise it.

    -Sam

  3. Andy

    October 9, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    i think it’s a solid, smart move simply because if it goes back to oakland you have verlander and rogers both with 4 days rest, if they win game 7 then you have bonderman to start game 1. Plus if game 7 is in doubt you still would have bonderman on 3 days rest for relief.

    As a manager you’d have to assume it will go 7, not just juggle things around and hope you sweep.

  4. Nick

    October 10, 2006 at 6:19 am

    Does it really make sense to say Rogers is invincible in the Coliseum when most of those starts occured when he was with the A’s in the late 90’s? Over the last four years he’s pitched basically the same in the Coliseum as he has in Comerica.

  5. billfer

    October 10, 2006 at 6:29 am

    Nick – in my mind when I was writing that I was being sarcastic but re-reading it now you’d have no way to no that. That’s why I pointed out later that he was just as good in Comerica.