Tigers set pitching rotation for ALDS

DETROIT — Citing a variety of variables, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced Tuesday the pitching rotation for the best-of-five playoff series against the Baltimore Orioles:

Game 1, Thursday at Baltimore: Max Scherzer.

Game 2, Friday at Baltimore: Justin Verlander.

Game 3, Sunday at Comerica Park: David Price.

Game 4, Monday at Comerica Park, if necessary: Rick Porcello.

Game 5, next Wednesday at Baltimore, if necessary: To be announced.

Ausmus didn’t announce any decisions on the other pending issues going into the series: the health of centerfielder Rajai Davis and the composition of the 25-man roster.

Those two issues are intertwined, Ausmus said. He said that if Davis isn’t on the roster, it might take two players to replace him, because there might be more need to pinch-hit for whoever is playing center. That, in turn, could determine how many relief pitchers the Tigers carry, he said. He indicated that the Tigers could have an extra reliever if Davis is on the roster.

“If you have Raj, you probably don’t need to pinch-hit as much, and you probably don’t need as many bench players,” Ausmus said in a news conference at Comerica Park. “Whereas if you don’t have Raj, you might need an extra bench player, which cuts into your bullpen.”

Speaking prior to Tuesday’s workout, Ausmus said Davis is feeling better from his abdominal-area sprain but hasn’t done any baseball activities since suffering the injury Saturday. Davis wasn’t visible during the 90-minute workout the Tigers held at Comerica Park shortly before they departed for Baltimore.

Wednesday’s workout in Baltimore apparently is Davis’ one and only chance to show that he’s healthy enough to be on the roster. The roster must be submitted by 10 a.m. Thursday. Sports teams don’t like to acknowledge bad news until they have to, but as of this afternoon, it was hard to believe that Davis will have fully recovered all of his stolen base speed by Thursday’s opener.

Ausmus said he chose Scherzer for Game 1 because he has been the Tigers’ best pitcher this season (18-5, 3.15 ERA). “And he was kind of lined up for Game 1, anyway,” Ausmus said. “He’s had the best year. That was easier than debating two and three.”

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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