Jim Leyland just did his little meet-and-greet with the media and said that Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit will not pitch in today’s potential elimination game. Or, to quote Leyland:
“I want to try to get through this game with Verlander and Coke”
I presume he means Phil, but for as dicey as this series is getting for the Tigers, who knows?
Seriously, though, he’s just facing facts here. Benoit and Valverde can’t have a thing left in the tank given how much they’ve been used lately. This is Justin Verlander’s game to win or lose. And to that end I put the over/under on how many pitches he throws at approximately three trillion. Really, we might just see his arm fall clean off in this game. And even as it dangles by a tendon, it’s probably the best option Jim Leyland has.
The Rangers made a handful of roster moves on Monday, per the club’s executive VP of communications John Blake. Shortstop Elvis Andrus has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. Catcher Jose Trevino was optioned to Double-A Frisco. And yesterday, outfielder Ryan Rua was optioned to Round Rock.
The big news, of course, is the return of Andrus. He missed over two months of action after suffering a fractured right elbow on April 11 when he was hit by a 97 MPH fastball. Andrus had gotten off to a good start, batting .327/.426/.500 in 61 plate appearances.
Jurickson Profar handled shortstop while Andrus was out and did an adequate job. While his defense was subpar according to the metrics, he hit .243/.315/.456 across 267 trips to the plate. With Andrus back, Profar will likely slide back into a utility role for the Rangers.