Junkballing: Pitchers, Playoffs, Plunkings
Debating Saturday’s starter, some news on a tiebreaker playoff game, and more from MLB’s punishment roulette wheel.
Alfredo Figaro has been tabbed for the start in a very key game on Saturday. This is the product of a rainout on Monday and a very young starter who’s arm warrants careful protection.
Rick Porcello simply isn’t an option for this game. Nick Blackburn, also bumped by Monday’s postponement is going on 3 days rest. Quite frankly the Twins don’t have the same type of investment in Blackburn’s future that the Tigers do in Porcello’s. This isn’t a matter of saving Porcello for the rest of the season, it is a matter of not being foolish with an elite talent.
Now Rob Neyer has suggested that the Tigers would be better served by pitching Verlander on short rest on Saturday and giving Porcello the start on Sunday. This is much more palatable from a workload perspective. Verlander looks to be a freak in terms of his ability to handle high pitch counts…so far. We’ll know more by how he responds next year.
Leyland has a tight rope to walk in terms of planning for the next week and planning for the next day with his pitchers. As slim as the lead is, the Tigers are still in the lead. The Tigers are likely to need a horse to pitch 1 of the last 2 games, and possibly games on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. Verlander and Porcello can’t pitch every game and Jackson’s reliability is questionable. So what is assured to be the lowest pressure game that the Tigers face from here on out? Saturday.
I understand that a win today makes everything easier from here on out and if the Tigers were in the Twins position the Tigers would have to absolutely go Verlander-Porcello and hope for the best. The Tigers slim lead does afford them some flexibility.
Regardless, Figaro isn’t going to lose the Saturday game for the Tigers. He won’t be left in long enough to let things get out of hand and if things take a bad turn Zach Miner will be in quickly. With a rested bullpen the Tigers are well equipped to handle the task.
If a tiebreaker game is needed, the Twins would get to host it. The trouble is that tiebreaker would normally be played on Monday and the Vikings are hosting the Packers that night. If the game is needed it looks now like it would be played at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
The Yankees have until 1 hour after their playoff opponent is known to decide if they’d like to start the series on Wednesday or Thursday.
Jeremy Bonderman was suspended for plunking Delmon Young in Thursday’s game. This really isn’t surprising. Warnings had been issued and Bonderman threw at Young intentionally. I am surprised he’s appealing the suspension.
What’s surprising (in an equity sense and not a MLB’s randomized punishment structure sense) is that Jose Mijares who everyone admits threw at Adam Everett with intent and unprovoked received no suspension. Whatever MLB.