New York Mets manager Buck Showalter, seeking his first World Series appearance, has the estimable advantage of having potential Hall of Famers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer at the top of his rotation. Jim Leyland had that advantage for four years with the Detroit Tigers when those two-star right-handers were at the helm of his rotation.
“Those are a couple of horses right there,” said Leyland. “It doesn’t get much better than those two.”
In those four seasons (2010-13), Verlander was 72-34 and Scherzer was 64-30, with each having a monster 20-win season. Verlander was 24-5 in 2011 and Scherzer 21-3 in 2013.
The Detroit Tigers made the World Series in 2012 before their bats were silenced by the San Francisco Giants, who won four games in succession. In the 2013 American League Championship Series, the Tigers had a 1-0 lead in games against eventual World Series champion Boston and Scherzer had fanned 13 and had allowed just two hits over seven innings and held a 5-1 lead over the Red Sox.
But Boston rallied for four runs off the bullpen in the eighth to pull out a 6-5 win that turned the series around, with Verlander being blanked 1-0 in Game 3. The Red Sox ultimately won in six games what Leyland considered his best team in the eight seasons he managed the Tigers.