Kelly at third base, Magglio in right field for Game 5

Remember how closely Jim Leyland guarded his lineup and rotation leading in the postseason? With his team’s strengths and weaknesses pretty well known by now, he was much more open Wednesday when talking about Game 5.

“I’m playing Don Kelly at third base tomorrow, and Magglio Ordonez in right field,” Leyland said.

When asked about Al Alburquerque’s struggles in this series, Leyland admitted he’ll be tight with his bullpen tomorrow. And he named names.

“Basically, being totally honest with you, I would like to get through this game tomorrow with Fister, Coke if necessary, Benoit and Valverde,” Leyland said. “There’s no secret to that. That’s what we would like to get through the game with.”

In other words, he’ll go with his experienced relievers.

On the list of possibilities at third base, Kelly might have been viewed as Plan C. Wilson Betemit struck out three times over three plate appearances and 10 total pitches Tuesday night, dropping him to 0-for-8 in the series. That seemingly pointed to Brandon Inge starting Game 5. But as well as Inge has been hitting, so has Kelly, and he’s a left-handed bat.

Ordonez, meanwhile, provides a veteran bat in right field. If Kelly was going to play regardless, the choice would’ve been between Ordonez and Inge.


sounds like a decent idea – kelly at third is less leaky than betemit at third or raburn at second. shoot, can we put inge at catcher instead of alex? jk.

What about second base? Santiago?

gosh i hope so

It was pretty clear Kelly would get RF or 3B. Betemit has pretty much resigned himself to the bench as the desiganted LHB to use in “dire and desperate straits when no one else can hit one over the fence if the close their eyes” situation.
Magglio deserves to play. I would not have screamed bloody murder if Dirks had been given a shot but I think it is the “right thing to do” to play Magglio.
If JL didn’t include Raburn in the above declaration then that means he is staying with Ramon. Good.
I would still like to see JL break his SOC routine and drop AJ to 9th in the order. It’ll not happen, but I would be encouraged if I were to see it.
We sure need Dougie Fister to be sharp and to limit the number of 2 strike and 2 out hits. I would think Scherzer could be available. In a do or die, he might have to be.
It would also be nice to hear that JL and the staff actually took the time and opportunity to have a “team meeting”. Chattin’ up the troops at the batting cage ain’t gonna do it.

I think we’ll see Dirks in the later innings to replace Maggs, but glad his bat is in the lineup, and with the short right porch who knows, he could clear that wall for us.

Aaah—I see Jason tweeted that Max would be available. Makes sense to me.

As I had posted earlier today, good idea starting Maggs in RF and Kelly at 3rd. You’ve then got Inge ready for defensive replacement or PH should LHP come in. I still think it would be a good idea to start Dirks in center. But I understand why JL would make the more obvious choice in AJ. I actually like AJ a lot and had to almost force myself to suggest Dirks. But something has to shake here. AJ has got to get intense. Would love to see him dive like CG does. Assuming the rest of the starters remain the same here is my shot at the lineup. Alternating LHB and RHB as much as possible. Avila is due.
Kelly 3B
Ordonez RF
Cabrera 1B
Martinez DH
Young LF
Avila C
Peralta SS
Santiago 2B
Jackson CF

Strike the PH part regarding Inge. That might be a spot for Raburn. Brandon for defensive replacement only. I will say that Brandon has changed his hitting approach lately in a positive way. He is definitely seeing the ball better and has been able to shorten his swing and be more selective. At least that’s the way I’ve been seeing it.

I thought AJ had good at bats yesterday. I turned it off when it got crazy so I don’t think I saw his last at bat. But the last 2 games his at bats were better. He keeps with those and I am fine with him leading off. I don’t think any of us want to see him take 3 bad hacks to start a game.
Hopefully the off day helps Avila get his swing back a bit.

Although game 4 left a bad taste, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. A number of breaks went against us, i.e. the two drives that Granderson flagged down (especially the one in the first inning), the Cabrera bullet right at Jeter, the strange hopper to Betemit, etc. The two teams seem pretty evenly matched and it will come down to who executes in the right spot and which side gets the breaks. It will be difficult for us to win without big nights from Cabrera and Victor, as we’ll need to score more runs than we have so far.
I discerned a big difference in the ballpark atmosphere from Monday to Tuesday, and it had nothing to do with the 10-1 final score. The place was absolutely frenzied throughout the Verlander game with multiple chants of MVP, while the following night was more in line with a regular season game. I gained the impression that Verlander has become larger than even the postseason. Or maybe it was just which people bought tickets for which game.
After traveling all day Monday and Wednesday, I have the strange feeling that I’m missing much of the playoff event, despite attending two of the games. If that makes any sense. I’m glad we went, however. My wife has never been to a postseason game and I haven’t been to one since 1972.

There you are. I was starting to get a little worried. It’s ironic that you sat in the noebleed seats for the best game, but had to actually “watch” our guys lose. It must have been a madhouse.
I feel better today and about our chances. Our guys played fairly well on the road. They’ve had a couple days off and are hopefully a little rested. The Yankees will be under tremendous pressure to win. It won’t be easy, but I think we still have a shot.

There’s something about Porcello that just doesn’t bring out the animal in the fans. Hate to use that term but I think it applies.

Rich you were right on with your analysis of the atmosphere differences between mon and tues. I definately noticed a lot more fair weather fans tuesday. Probably people that thought a game 4 could be a game when tigers could close a series. Game 3 wouldnt be very likely to do that. And brought out the tiger fans that were happy to see a playoff game plus the verlander followers.

lol @ only true fans going to a playoff game. I was a season ticket holder in 2003-05

AJ’s bats were better. We need him on base with his speed. And if he gets on base he needs to be a distraction to Nova. That’s part of the game that needs to happen. I’m OK with him leading off, but I’d still like to see the left-right set up in the order somehow. And why not move Cabrera up to the 3rd spot? Might get him an extra AB. I’m guessing JL will stick with his usual alignment.Tuesday night almost every bounce and break went to NY. As JL said. that’s baseball. Nothing to whine about, it happens. It’s one of the reasons I’m optimistic about tonight. Those breaks might even out a bit.

I forgot to mention my favorite part of game 4 (there were not many) and that was Miggy asking ARod if he wanted the ball from his first hit in the series. I was about crying on that one, he does play loose even though you know he has that fire to win.

It is funny how AJax has become a patient hitter. The upside is that he is walking more. THe downside is, well I don’t think he has a hit.
Dirks will not replace Maggs, Inge will (with Kelly moving to RF).
Very important to capitalize on chances early, get the rookie rattled.

AJ finally did get a hit. A solid line drive single to left. Not sure what he did in his last at bat—I had to turn that game off.
The pressure is not only getting to the fans it is getting to the bullpen too. come to think of it, it’s evidenced itself on al the players with perhaps the exception of Scherzer and Kelly.
After 4 games it is time for this club to settle down and do what they have done before. Treat the game like it is a ball game and not a battle to save mankind.
Reduce the pressure, increase the enjoyment of playing solid baseball, play like a team.

On another note, regardless of tonight’s outcome – I had a good time catching 155+ ball games this year with my family and friends. I am proud of what the tigers did this year and I had a good time following the games. And i wanna thank the FSN crew, Dan dickerson and jim price, and all the management, ownership and scouting staffs. Even opera hot dog guy, dashing donut and creepy paws guy (aka “tigger”).

It should be a low scoring game. Most of us still have to go to work tomorrow regardless of the outcome so I will enjoy watching. What a great September and not ready for October to be over. Go Magglio, Go Tigers!

Good points. Win or lose, we go on with our day to day existence with nothing to be gained other than a little satisfaction and maybe some bragging rights. Myself, I’d like to see another week of Tiger baseball. At any rate, this is nothing like 2009 when we knew we’d blown it. We’ve already had a successful season.
So let’s make it more successful.

don’t understand the hate on AJ from tiger fans. glad to hear some others (in this post) that agree. he’s worked the count deep and gotten on base this series. not many hits… but he has been FAR superior to other dudes that have struggled (such as Avila/Betemit). of course, AJax will have his share of at bats where he looks terrible (one-in-five seems about right), but he is the best option to leadoff that we have right now.

No matter how one views Jackson’s leadoff abilities, it’s a fact that JL won’t change it now. That’s offseason stuff. I think Austin has had some pretty good ABs the last couple of games.
Speaking of centerfielders, here’s my view of Granderson: even before he finished sliding across the outfield grass Tuesday night, I knew that his ties to Detroit were permanently severed. Some will disagree, but I definitely see him as the enemy now, if not before. As he was lying there catching his breath, I hoped he wouldn’t get up. You can’t argue with your own feelings.

I am still a fan of Grandy. Seems like a good guy, plays the game right. I want the Tigers to win, don’t get me wrong, but I will always be a Granderson fan.
Saw on MLive how Inge and Kelly came to AJax defense about his d in CF. Don’t know where that criticism has come from, people have a sky high expectation for him defensively, but Jeter and Granderson both smashed those balls. The fact that AJax got close is testament to how good he is on the field.

It’s unfortunate we get this far and Jimmy Leyland can not hide his overwhelming manlove for Donny Kelly any longer. I like the guy (Kelly) and he’s great to have to fill in when needed, but to start consecutive elimination games in the playoffs, AND to bat in key spots in the lineup is simply insane. The decision to bat him sixth in game four likely cost us the game. Had Burnett had to face a major league player (Magglio, Avila or Peralta) after walking the bases loaded he would have likely walked him too and with action already warming in the pen, Burnett would’ve been gone, leaving us with over 8 innings of bullpen, which the Tigers typically destroy. Instead Burnett, surely taking a huge sigh of relief seeing Kelly stepping into the box, grooved a pitch to him and to Kelly’s credit he did hit it hard, but straight at Granderson. Nobody in the league fears him, and because of that he will get the occasional hit, but he is not a MLB starter period. So sad when personal likes and dislikes supercede common baseball sense. Here’s hoping the boys once again rise above Leyland’s ignorance.

How about that? I never liked Kelly either, but Leyland is squeezing all he can out of the guy. Tonight’s line: Kelly 1, david 0.

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