Tigers set ALDS rotation, push Max Scherzer to Game 4


Justin Verlander starting Game 1 was a given and today the Tigers announced the rest of their ALDS rotation against the A’s:

Doug Fister in Game 2, Anibal Sanchez in Game 3, and Max Scherzer in Game 4. And then if the series goes to a Game 5 it would be Verlander getting the ball again.

If healthy Scherzer seems likely to have gotten a start before Game 4, but between late-season shoulder problems and tweaking his ankle celebrating the division title manager Jim Leyland smartly decided to give him as much rest as possible. And it’s not like Fister and Sanchez are bad Game 2 and Game 3 options, obviously.

Detroit using four right-handers starters means the left-handed-hitting side of Oakland’s platoons will have to step up, as Brandon Moss and Seth Smith will likely be starting every game with Chris Carter and Jonny Gomes on the bench. Overall this season the A’s essentially had equal production versus righties and lefties.

Madison Bumgarner diagnosed with fractured left hand

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Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.

Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.

The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.

This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”