Detroit has four pitchers who could potentially get a Game 1 assignment for a lot of playoff teams and the Tigers just announced their postseason rotation with Max Scherzer getting the first assignment.
Scherzer will start Game 1 against the A’s, followed by Justin Verlander in Game 2, Anibal Sanchez in Game 3, and Doug Fister in Game 4. You know it’s a good rotation when last year’s Cy Young runner-up is starting Game 2 and this year’s ERA leader is starting Game 3.
Rick Porcello, who was more or less a league-average pitcher this season as the Tigers’ fifth starter, will work strictly out of the bullpen in the playoffs and if the series with Oakland goes the maximum five games Scherzer will take the mound twice.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.