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Tigers Vs. Yankees: Justin Verlander Not Available For Game 5

It's been interesting to watch how differently Jim Leyland and Joe Girardi have handled their aces during the Tigers-Yankees series. Before any games were even played, Leyland made the decision to start Justin Verlander only once. Girardi, on the other hand, had planned to have CC Sabathia start Games 1 and 4.

Of course, rain altered the plans of both managers. Verlander and Sabathia each started two games, although neither pitched beyond the second inning in Game 1 because of rain. Since Game 1 wasn't finished until Saturday, Leyland and Girardi decided to have their aces come back to start Game 3 on Monday.

Because there are a couple days in between Games 3 and 5, Girardi has said that he expects Sabathia to be available as a reliever if necessary. If a situation arose where the game went extra innings, for example, Sabathia appears to be someone the Yankees could look to for help out of the bullpen.

Leyland is not going that route with Verlander. He has already decided that Verlander will not be available for the Tigers. He is planning to get through Game 5 with a combination of starter Doug Fister and relievers Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. (By the way, don't expect to see Al Alburquerque in Game 5. After struggling in Game 4, Leyland described him as "not sharp." I doubt he will pitch unless the Tigers are absolutely forced to go to him.)