Will Jim Leyland Let Justin Verlander Finish Up?

Will Jim Leyland let his Cy Young starting pitcher attempt to finish this game?

Or will Leyland call upon his closer, who has converted 50 of 50 save opportunities in 2011?

Through eight innings, Justin Verlander has thrown 120 pitches, and he threw harder in the eighth than he did in the first (which is truly hard, indeed).

Verlander's season high in pitches was 132, against the Red Sox in late May. On five other occasions, he threw at last 125 pitches.

Complicating matters? Detroit's two best relief pitchers worked hard in Sunday night's Game 2 victory. Joaquin Benoit threw two innings (but needed only 23 pitches). Closer Jose Valverde threw just one inning, but got into a big jam and needed 34 pitches to escape it.

If Verlander hadn't walked Alex Rodriguez in the eighth, Leyland might have been awfully tempted to stick with him. But 120 pitches after a six-month season and 251 innings?

Leyland will go with Papa Grande, and hope he's sharper than he was last night. He'll be facing the bottom of the Yankees' lineup, which might help a little.

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