After last night’s loss Jim Leyland was asked if he’d consider bringing back Justin Verlander on short rest to start Game 4 if the Tigers were facing elimination and the manager made it clear that’s not an option.
Verlander threw just four innings in Game 1, which normally might make coming back on short rest doable, but his 98 pitches weren’t a particularly light workload.
It’s also worth noting that the Tigers aren’t exactly relying on a bum in Game 4 as is, with Max Scherzer set to take the mound. He’s arguably Detroit’s second-best starter and would be the No. 1 guy on a lot of teams.
Verlander, who now has a 4.22 ERA in 12 career playoff starts, is slated to pitch Game 5 in Detroit on Monday if the Tigers can extend the series.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.