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Verlander lined up for Game 7 of ALCS

NEW YORK -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland managed Kenny Rogers through a scoreless postseason in 2006, including eight innings of two-hit ball in the World Series. With the Marlins, he managed Livan Hernandez through a 15-strikeout complete game in the 1997 National League Championship Series.

So when Leyland says he has never had a better performance in a postseason than the complete-game four-hitter Justin Verlander delivered in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Thursday night in Oakland, it's more than mere flattery.

"I would have to say that's as good of a pitching performance as I've seen had pitched for me in a big game," Leyland said.

It's no surprise, then, that Leyland lined his ALCS rotation up to have Verlander start a potential Game 7 next weekend at Yankee Stadium.

It wasn't simply the quality of the pitches, Leyland said. It was the purpose behind it.

"What I really liked about [the game]," Leyland said, "is it really showed how much he's matured. He didn't go out and overthrow. He didn't go out and try to show the Oakland crowd."

NEW YORK -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland managed Kenny Rogers through a scoreless postseason in 2006, including eight innings of two-hit ball in the World Series. With the Marlins, he managed Livan Hernandez through a 15-strikeout complete game in the 1997 National League Championship Series.

So when Leyland says he has never had a better performance in a postseason than the complete-game four-hitter Justin Verlander delivered in Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Thursday night in Oakland, it's more than mere flattery.

"I would have to say that's as good of a pitching performance as I've seen had pitched for me in a big game," Leyland said.

It's no surprise, then, that Leyland lined his ALCS rotation up to have Verlander start a potential Game 7 next weekend at Yankee Stadium.

It wasn't simply the quality of the pitches, Leyland said. It was the purpose behind it.

"What I really liked about [the game]," Leyland said, "is it really showed how much he's matured. He didn't go out and overthrow. He didn't go out and try to show the Oakland crowd."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.