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.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.