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.”