Justin Verlander starting Game 1 was a given and today the Tigers announced the rest of their ALDS rotation against the A’s:
Doug Fister in Game 2, Anibal Sanchez in Game 3, and Max Scherzer in Game 4. And then if the series goes to a Game 5 it would be Verlander getting the ball again.
If healthy Scherzer seems likely to have gotten a start before Game 4, but between late-season shoulder problems and tweaking his ankle celebrating the division title manager Jim Leyland smartly decided to give him as much rest as possible. And it’s not like Fister and Sanchez are bad Game 2 and Game 3 options, obviously.
Detroit using four right-handers starters means the left-handed-hitting side of Oakland’s platoons will have to step up, as Brandon Moss and Seth Smith will likely be starting every game with Chris Carter and Jonny Gomes on the bench. Overall this season the A’s essentially had equal production versus righties and lefties.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.