Patrick Hayes makes a good point regarding the workloads of the Tigers’ pitchers:
[Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Jarrod Washburn] are on pace to set career-highs in innings pitched and all three are pitching much longer into games than they did a season ago . . . Jackson has never thrown 200 innings in a season (previous career-high was 181 last year) and is on pace to hit 210 this year. He’s been averaging 6.6 innings per start, up from 5.7 per appearance last season.
Verlander is throwing 6.6 innings per start as well, up slightly from his 6.1 last season. He’s on pace to throw 225 innings, up from his previous career-high of 201.
Something to watch out for, sure, and definitely the kind of thing that should inspire Jim Leyland to try and find a little rest for those guys somewhere down the stretch if at all possible. This Tigers team reminds me a lot of the 2007 Indians, and you’ll recall that their failure to get past Boston may very well have been due to Sabathia and Carmona simply tiring out by the time the ALCS rolled around.
Still, we’re not talking crazy workloads, and those guys have been generally durable. And as long as the White Sox lurk, it’s not like the Tigers have much of a choice but to throw them out there every fifth day.
With Game 6 of the NLCS just hours away, the Dodgers will opt for a lefty-heavy lineup against right-hander Kyle Hendricks. Batting leadoff is rookie outfielder Andrew Toles, who made one appearance at the top of the lineup during the 2016 season. The Cubs, meanwhile, will bench Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.. This will be Almora’s first start of the playoffs, and while he has yet to face Kershaw in October, his right-handed bat could play well against the lefty at the bottom of the lineup.
Game time is scheduled for 8 PM EDT; lineups are below.
1. Andrew Toles (L) LF
6. Wilson Contreras (R) C
8. Albert Almora Jr. (R) RF
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) RHP
UPDATE, 5:08 PM EDT: Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon will not rule out a World Series appearance for Kyle Schwarber if the Cubs advance. MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports that Schwarber could play through a simulated game on Sunday, during which the Cubs’ medical and baseball staff would evaluate his chances for a late season return. If he does play, it will likely be in a pinch-hitting or DH role and not on the field.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.