Just a few hours after announcing their rotation for the ALCS, the Tigers adjusted it Friday, moving Max Scherzer up to Game 2 and Rick Porcello to Game 4.
Scherzer certainly would have been the No. 2 starter originally if not for his relief appearance in Thursday’s Game 5 against the Yankees, but the Tigers originally decided to push him to Game 4 after the outing. One can guess that he showed up feeling especially good today, causing the Tigers to move him back up.
So, the new rotation is Justin Verlander, Scherzer, Doug Fister and Porcello. It means that Scherzer, rather than Porcello, will get two starts if the series goes at least six games, which seems like a significant plus for the Tigers.
Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the club announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, third baseman Pablo Sandoval was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, where he’ll remain for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dereck Rodriguez has also been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain during Tuesday’s brawl against the Dodgers.
Strickland, 29, had been shelved with a fractured right hand since mid-June. The right-hander sustained the injury after punching a door and underwent surgery to repair the fifth metacarpal in his pitching hand. He only missed the minimum after making a speedy recovery, however, and finished his recent rehab stint with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for the Giants’ rookie, High-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Prior to the incident, Strickland logged 13 saves in 28 opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 34 appearances. According to comments from club skipper Bruce Bochy, the Giants don’t plan on wasting any time before deploying their former closer, but will make him available in high-leverage situations as soon as possible. It’s worth noting, too, that the team still has a viable closer in lefty reliever Will Smith, who picked up 10 saves and engineered a 3.10 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 12.8 SO/9 in 20 1/3 innings since Strickland landed on the DL this summer.