From All-Star starter to postseason headliner, Max Scherzer is Jim Leyland’s pick again.
Detroit’s 21-game winner will start an American League best-of-five division series opener Friday night against the Athletics at Oakland, with Justin Verlander pitching Game 2 on Saturday. Leyland announced the Tigers rotation Tuesday, putting an end to any speculation about who would start Game 1.
Right-hander Bartolo Colon, 40, will get the ball for the Athletics in the opener, his first postseason appearance in eight years.
Scherzer (21-3) was the only 20-game winner in the majors this year and started for the AL in the All-Star game, which Leyland managed.
The Tigers won the AL Central for a third consecutive year, thanks in part to an exceptionally deep rotation. Anibal Sanchez, the AL’s earned-run average leader, won’t pitch until Game 3 against the Athletics on Monday in Detroit. Doug Fister will start Game 4, if necessary, on Oct. 8.
Leyland said relievers Bruce Rondon and Phil Coke probably will sit out the series because of elbow problems.
For the A’s, rookie Sonny Gray will start Game 2, Jarrod Parker will go in Game 3 and Dan Straily is scheduled to start if a Game 4 is necessary.
A.J. Griffin, a 14-game winner, is out because of elbow tendinitis. He could be added to the roster for the next round if the A’s advance.
Ned Yost and Royals agree to a two-year contract extension
Manager Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals agreed to a two-year contract extension after wrapping up an 86-76 season, the best finish for the franchise in 24 years.
Yost’s contract was set to expire after the season, though both sides had expressed a desire for the manager to remain on board.
The Royals rebounded from a disastrous May to post a 43-27 record after the All-Star break, and weren’t eliminated from wild-card contention until their penultimate series.
Yost is 741-831 in 10 seasons as a manager, six with the Milwaukee Brewers and the last four with the Royals.
Astros fire two coaches, reassign one
The Houston Astros said in a statement that they are not renewing the contracts of first base coach Dave Clark and bullpen coach Dennis Martinez and are reassigning pitching coach Doug Brocail.
Team officials said Brocail will become a special assistant to General Manager Jeff Luhnow and serve as his senior pitching adviser.
Clark spent five seasons on the Astros coaching staff, four as third base coach and the last at first base.
Martinez was a four-time All-Star pitcher. He spent six seasons as a pitching coach in the St. Louis Cardinals system before joining the Astros in 2013.