Originally written on It's Always Sunny in Detroit  |  Last updated 6/29/14
You wouldn't think that beneath Tigers manager Jim Leyland's gruff appearance, despite his constant scowl and pacing during big moments, he knows how to keep the clubhouse loose.

On Wednesday, Leyland made it perfectly clear that ace Justin Verlander would not be available, in any capacity, for Friday's Game Five against the Yankees. Verlander had just thrown 120 pitches during his eight inning outing in Game Three. Leyland has never been a fan of bringing a starting pitcher back on anything less than the standard four days rest and he wasn't about to change his philosophy now.

As most Major League starting pitchers do on their second day after their start, Verlander was out in the bullpen before Friday's game getting his side work in. He had thrown 50-some pitches with hope of the Tigers getting passed the Yankees so he'd be ready for Game One of the American League Championship Series.

As JV was walking back into the clubhouse after throwing, he saw Leyland and said, "I can't believe you're not pitching me tonight." That gave Leyland a chance to give the AL Cy Young favorite a scare. Per Leyland's post game press conference, the exchange went:

"What do you mean? I might pitch you."

"What? I just threw my side (session in the pen)."

"I told the pitching coach (Jeff Jones) not to throw you."

Verlander gave him a stunned/scared look. After throwing 50 pitches, his arm wouldn't have been in shape to have to warm up again and enter the game, if needed, later Friday.

Leyland ended it by telling the media, "And I finally got one over on Justin Verlander."
Not bad, Skip.

Free Press


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