The Tigers were forced to use two of their starting pitchers in Saturday night’s rain-ravaged Game 1 loss to the Rangers, and they just had Game 2 postponed, but they’re not going to let any of that affect their mapped-out ALCS rotation.
According to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, right-hander Rick Porcello is still scheduled to start Game 4 of the ALCS and ace Justin Verlander is still in line to take the mound in a potential Game 5.
Verlander only threw 82 pitches in Game 1, which featured two separate rain delays, so there was some thought that the Tigers might bump him up. But manager Jim Leyland has maintained that he will not pitch the hard-throwing 28-year-old on short rest.
Porcello threw 22 pitches on Saturday night, but he should recover fully before his Wednesday outing.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.