The Detroit Tigers today, October 16, 2013, announced their daily lineup via social media outlets and it contained significant changes. Always a manager who likes to stick with the guys that got him this far, Jim Leyland hasn't made significant alterations to who is going to play this game, but he has jumbled up the order in which the will hit.
The biggest of those changes is leadoff man Austin Jackson has been dropped to 8th in tonight's batting order. Jackson has been in a funk since the post season began and is hitting just 0.77 with 5 strikeouts in the American League Championship Series. He has 17 strike outs in the 8 games played this post season thus far, and a change at the top of the order was needed.
The only real significant personnel move is Jhonny Peralta starting in left field with Jose Iglesisas starting at Short Stop.
The rest of the batting order has essentially been bumped up one spot. Torii Hunter, struggling at the plate himself, will move to leadoff from the two hole, with Miguel Cabrera moving up to second in the order. Prince Fielder moves to third with DH Victor Martinez batting clean up. At the very least these moves will get Cabrera and Fielder, the heart of the Detroit offense, an extra at bat in a game four that is as close to a must win as a non elimination game can get.
Leyland is certainly hoping that with Cabrera, arguably the best hitter in the game today, hitting second Hunter will see better pitches and be able to set the table for the rest of the offense.
The case of Fielder is a little more complicated. On the surface his .273 batting average suggests that he is doing ok. However, he has just three hits in the ALCS and only one for extra bases. That added to the fact he has no RBI suggests a complete power outage for the Tigers high octane offense. The fact that they have been out scored 8-7 in the three games against the Boston Red Sox confirms exactly that.