The Detroit Tigers have set their starting rotation for their American League Division Series match-up against the Athletics. The AL Central champs will go with Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer in the series opener, followed by Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Doug Fister, the team has announced.
Though it's been Verlander who has gotten the nod in Game 1 the last two seasons, there was never really any doubt that Scherzer (21-3; 2.90) would be the one taking the hill this Friday. Ample run support or no, the 29-year-old right-hander has been lights out for Detroit this season and is a favorite to take home the Cy Young trophy when the postseason comes to a close.
Detroit has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to starting pitching, so they probably could have picked the final three names out of a hat -- Rick Porcello omitted, of course -- and been perfectly content with the results. As it stands, they have the reigning Cy Young runner-up going in Game 2, the 2013 AL ERA champ going in Game 3, and everyone else's idea of a No. 2 starter going in Game 4 (should the series get that far).
Porcello, the weak link in the rotation, will likely set up shop in the bullpen for the entirety of the postseason.
Oakland has yet to announce who will be throwing opposite the Tigers' formidable starters, but it's likely to be some combination of Bartolo Colon, Jarrod Parker, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone. Right-hander A.J. Griffin (elbow) would probably usurp Straily and Milone if he were healthy, but he's not expected back until at least the ALCS.