- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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Tigers manager Jim Leyland absolutely ruled out an appearance by his ace, Justin Verlander, in tonight's Game 5, regardless of score or circumstances.
"It was not a hard decision for me,'' Leyland said during a most entertaining pre-game interview session. "One thing you have to remember, he went a little longer than CC (Sabathia) the other night. He was also throwing 100 miles an hour in the eighth inning. He's thrown a lot of pitches under stressful circumstances. Justin Verlander coming out of the bullpen tonight might make for a better story. But I don't think it's a common-sense thing to do long-term, to be honest with you.''
Just to make sure Verlander would not be available, Leyland had him throw a pre-game bullpen session of 56 pitches. His Yankees counterpart, Joe Girardi, held Sabathia back from his normal between-starts bullpen session so his ace woul dbe available tonight if necessary.
Said Leyland: "(Max) Scherzer is my Sabathia tonight. I think you're forgetting that Scherzer did a pretty good job against this team (on Sunday in Game 2), and he's rested better. That's just the way it is.''
By the way, the differences between the personalities of the two managers was obvious by the way they handled the same question. Told that Leyland had ruled Verlander out, a chuckling Girardi said, "I know what Jim said, but sometimes circumstances change. You get into a crazy game, he might be the last guy out there. I'm not saying Jim won't put him in there. But you get into an 18 inning game, you're not putting Wilson Betemit there, you know what I mean?''
Leyland, asked if he had considered decoying the Yankees by playing coy over Verlander's availability, said, "I don't play gamesmanship. There's no secrets here. I'm not pitching Justin Verlander tonight. I just don't think it makes sense.''