ST. LOUIS -- Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland ended the
speculation regarding his World Series rotation Thursday. As for
St. Louis, Tony La Russa would only say who's starting Game 5 --
beyond that, circumstances will decide.
Leyland, who refused to discuss his pitching plans beyond Game 4
starter Jeremy Bonderman after Wednesday's rainout, said the order
of his starters for the final three games would be Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson. That ended the talk
that Rogers, who threw eight scoreless innings in Game 2, might
move up ahead of Verlander to Game 5 if the Tigers faced
Verlander allowed six earned runs in five innings in Game 1.
"It was not a tough decision at all," Leyland said while
walking to Detroit's clubhouse after his news conference before
Game 4. "People can have a field day with it and second-guess me,
but the bottom line is we have to win three more games."
"So, we're going with Verlander, Rogers and Robertson."
La Russa settled on Jeff Weaver for Game 5 after sending both
Weaver and rookie Anthony Reyes to the interview room Wednesday.
Weaver would have been pitching on three days' rest for the first
time, but the Cardinals' third rainout of the postseason removed
Weaver also had been set to go on three days' rest in Game 5 of
the NL championship series before another rainout in St. Louis. He
allowed three runs in five innings in Game 2 and has two postseason
"The way he's pitched for us makes sense to go," La Russa
said. "And we keep Anthony ready for whatever we need."
Beyond Game 5, the Cardinals will allow the results to dictate
their choices. Reyes, who threw a light bullpen session, could be
the Game 6 starter. Or ace Chris Carpenter could pitch Game 6 on
three days' rest if the Cardinals are facing elimination.
"We'll be consistent," La Russa said. "We know we're going to
play two more games, and then see how our staff shakes out."
The kicker: The Cardinals don't want to subject Reyes, 25, to
the pressure of a Game 7 start. No matter how well he pitched in
Game 1, the team remains haunted by the Rick Ankiel meltdown in
2000, when the rookie became the first pitcher in 110 years to
throw five wild pitches in one postseason inning.
Ankiel is now a minor league outfielder in the St. Louis
More inclement weather also could affect pitching choices the
rest of the way. With enough rain, Game 4 starter Jeff Suppan could
be used again.
"There's not a great forecast in Detroit, or tomorrow," Duncan
said. "We'll see what the weather does."
Tigers pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said he and Verlander
worked on his mechanics in an effort to improve his velocity. The
rookie fireballer, who usually throws several 100 mph pitches in
every start but was in the mid-90s in Game 1, and said the biggest
adjustment is with leg drive.
Fatigue could be a factor. Twice, including his last scheduled
start, the Tigers skipped the 23-year-old Verlander in the
"Justin did his usual work between starts and everything seems
fine with him," Leyland said.