Leyland pondering whether to hit Cabrera third

When Jim Leyland batted Miguel Cabrera third in the ALCS, he did it out of necessity. Magglio Ordonez was out. Delmon Young was out, then back but hobbled. There was no ideal guy left to put in front of Cabrera and take advantage of strikes.

That all is done now, but Leyland hasn’t eliminated the idea of keeping Cabrera in the third spot quite yet.

“I might,” Leyland said in his media session Wednesday.  “I’m thinking about it.  That will be one of those lineups that I makeup all winter long, and have him in the three spot and have him in the four spot.

Leyland has made out about 10 lineups by his count, and he has gone back and forth with it. Keeping Delmon Young there is another option. Moving Brennan Boesch back there, where he was for much of July and August, is another.

“With Boesch and Young, Miguel is not a burner, Boesch does good,” Leyland said. “If [Austin] Jackson is doing well, that’s three guys that can get around the bases better, so I might leave him fourth, but I would consider it.”

The question of where to hit Cabrera, regarded by many as the best hitter in the American League, has been debated pretty much ever since he arrived in Detroit four years ago. Leyland’s preference has always been to bat Cabrera fourth and try to enhance his RBI opportunities. Others have argued that putting Cabrera third guarantees he’ll bat in the first inning and betters his chances to get more plate appearances.

“You look at that two ways,” Leyland said, restarting the debate. “You can come up in the first inning with two out and nobody on.  If he comes up [in the first] and he hits fourth, that means he has somebody [on base], so you can look at that a lot of different ways.  Some guys thought it was [right to have] the best actual contact type hitter third, but our lineup is pretty deep.

“I feel real comfortable, I think with whatever our lineup looks like.  I think it will be okay.”

7 Comments

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Batting Miggy fourth to “enhance his rbi opportunities” makes sense if the guys batting #1-3 get on base a lot. Jackson?

Sounds like Dotel is a strong possibility. He actually turns a vulnerable pen into a pretty good one, provided we get decent contributions from Schlereth, Coke, Q, Pauley and Perry.
Perry might become expendable but geez, when he is sanpping that slider the way he can he can be good.

Anyone know how many games ended last year with Miggy On Deck? I don’t recall any.

But, getting Miggy up in the first inning seems pretty crucial. Though I think I’d prefer him leading off the 2nd inning with no outs then to come up in first with 2 outs.

Below,Schlereth, Pauley and Perry will fight for two spots as long relievers.Valverde, Benoit, Dotel, Alburquerque( while healthy), Coke own their spots.Two more for seven.
They have been hard on Perry but Pauley has been ignored since coming from Seattle ( he was good in the fist part of the season). And they need another lefty( ironic for the Tigers) so one among Below and Schelerth will take one spot.

I wasn’t impressed with Pauley as part of the Fister trade, but I’m intrigued with his potential. As you say, El Tigre, he did have a good couple of months there. He got no chance in Detroit this season, other than a very important game with Chicago when Raburn and Cabrera won it in the 9th. He did very well that day in a big game.
There is a possibility that Below wins the rotation spot if we don’t pick someone up.
.
Jim loves to play with lineups, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t care where Cabrera hits as long as the guys in front get on base. Boesch did very well at #3, as did Delmon when he came along. It’s a good spot.

I prefer to hit cabby 4th. Put boesch 3rd. Unless he falls off like past years then start tinkering. Granted i would like aj to hit or at least lay down a nasty bunt. He really needs to be focused on by the batting coach. If he isnt considerally better than 2011 than bat him 8th and bump either santiago or kelly up to leadoff. Kelly can at least leg out a single. Granted none of the 3 are great leadoff choices but unless we get another puzzle piece thats what we have to work with. Personally i think santiago has the mentality of a leadoff hitter but his numbers havent backed that. Maybe a good batting coach can get that feature to bloom.

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