ARLINGTON (AP) – Detroit manager Jim Leyland would love to see Justin Verlander pitch again because that would mean the Tigers are in the World Series.
While Leyland could put him on the mound sooner, he’s already made it clear that he won’t.
Before Game 6 of the AL championship series against the Texas Rangers on Saturday, Leyland said that even if Detroit forces a seventh game on Sunday night, he would not use his ace in relief. The Tigers were trailing 3-2 in the ALCS.
“He will not pitch in this series. He’s done,” Leyland said Saturday. “If we don’t go on, he threw his last pitch for the season. If we go on, obviously, if we’re fortunate enough to go on, he would pitch Game 1 of the World Series. But you will not see Verlander out of the bullpen tomorrow.”
Leyland probably isn’t trying to deceive the Rangers. In the AL division series against the Yankees, Leyland said he wouldn’t use Verlander in relief in the decisive fifth game and didn’t, despite the strong temptation.
Verlander is likely to win the AL Cy Young Award and is among the front-runners for MVP after leading the AL in wins (24), ERA (2.40) and strikeouts (250).
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)