It looks more and more like Max Scherzer will be held out of action until the playoffs -- if Detroit
qualifies -- but it also looks more and more like the Tigers have a viable alternative if it needs one.
Rookie lefty Drew Smyly made his second emergency start since Sunday on Friday night and turned in his
second straight strong outing.
Smyly started the second game of a day-night doubleheader against Minnesota on Sunday, replacing Rick
Detroit had to juggle its rotation because Porcello's Friday night start was rained out.
Scherzer started the first game and pitched well despite diminished velocity. He said before and after
his deltoid, which forced him to skip a previous start, was not sore.
But when it cropped up again following a bullpen session Tuesday, manager Jim Leyland scrubbed Scherzer
from his scheduled Friday outing. Smyly started because he was on the same schedule as Scherzer, and
pitched 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball.
His total for the two starts: 9 2/3 innings, five hits, one run (unearned) and seven strikeouts. He
threw 78 pitches Sunday and 93 Friday.
Pitching Smyly in place of Scherzer sets him for a start in Wednesday's final game of the regular season
-- if Scherzer can't go or, if healthy, is scratched because the game has no meaning in terms of postseason
"He said he felt pretty good," Leyland said. "We're in a little bit of a dilemma now, because of the
uncertainty of Scherzer.
"He's going to have to pitch again. He's only had one start in a month, 75 pitches. So that (taking him
out after 5 1/3 innings and 93 pitches Friday) was a no-brainer. I can't take a chance on him staying out
too long. I made up my mind that was it for him."
His improvement from the beginning of the season makes him a good bet to make Detroit's rotation out of
spring training for the second year in a row. (He didn't begin this season because Detroit didn't need a
fifth starter until the second week, but he only opened in the minors so he could make a tuneup start.)