Tigers manager Jim Leyland has already decided his ALDS rotation and won’t consider bringing Justin Verlander back on short rest, even if the Tigers are behind after three games.
“Verlander will pitch Game 1 and Game 5,” Leyland said. “All the second-guessers can come out and say I should pitch him in the fourth game if we’re behind, but that’s not going to happen.”
Leyland didn’t announce the rest of his rotation, but he said that it’s already been settled and that nothing will change based on the Tigers’ opponent and whether they open at home or on the road. That’s a clear indication that Doug Fister will start Game 2, followed by Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello.
Some had previously speculated that the Tigers might go with Scherzer in Game 2 if they started off at home. Scherzer has a 3.66 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP at Comerica Park this year, compared to a 5.23 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP on the road. Last year, he had a 2.99 ERA at home and a 3.99 ERA on the road.
MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports that Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Stanozolol.
In a statement, via Dan Hayes of The Athletic, Polanco denied knowingly using the substance. Polanco said, “To be clear, I did not intentionally consume this steroid. I now know, however, that my intention alone is not a good enough excuse and I will pay the price for my error in judgment. The substance that I requested from my athletic trainer in the Dominican Republic and consented to take was a combination of vitamin B12 and an iron supplement, something that is not unusual or illegal for professional athletes to take. Unfortunately, what I was given was not that supplement and I take full responsibility for what is in my body.”
Last year was Polanco’s first full season in the majors. He hit .256/.313/.410 with 13 home runs, 74 RBI, 60 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 544 plate appearances.
The Twins have Ehire Adrianza and Erick Aybar to handle shortstop while Polanco is out. The club could also give the starting job to prospect Nick Gordon, ranked No. 4 in the Twins’ system according to MLB Pipeline. Gordon had a solid 2017 campaign at Double-A Chattanooga, posting a .749 OPS with 29 doubles and 13 steals in 578 PA.