DETROIT -- The question of Justin Verlander's availability to start again came up, and it was shot down as soon as the Game 4 part of the question could be mentioned.
"No," manager Jim Leyland answered.
To those who haven't followed the Tigers extensively, it's a real debate, especially with someone known for staying strong deep into games like Verlander. Those who know the Tigers under Leyland know that he has never pitched Verlander on short rest, and he probably never will.
Leyland didn't do it down the stretch in 2009, when the Tigers unsuccessfully tried to hold off the Twins in the American League Central. He didn't do it during Detroit's postseason run last year. He kept up a high degree of caution after he had two postseason starts shortened by rain.
Simply put, Leyland has never wanted to put Verlander's arm at risk. Leyland made that clear as recently as last year's AL Division Series, when he ruled out pitching Verlander in a decisive Game 5 on what would be his side session day after starting Game 4.
"I'm not going to pitch Justin Verlander," Leyland said then. "You can argue 'till the cows come home, I'm not going to do it. I don't think it's a wise decision. Those innings he pitched the other night, all the innings he's piled up this year, all the strikeouts, all the adrenaline, and the fact that he's throwing 100 mph in the eighth inning the other night, if he comes in this game tonight, there's no telling what he would be throwing with the way this crowd is going to be and everything. I just don't think it makes sense. I really don't."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.