September 10th, 2012

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at White Sox

Jim Leyland follows through on his plan to have an all-righty outfield against White Sox lefty Jose Quintana. That includes left fielder Ryan Raburn, who gets the nod to bat second over Omar Infante. Given that Infante had two hits off Angels lefty C.J. Wilson on Saturday, albeit both singles that weren’t well-struck, it’s an interesting shift in thought. Raburn is 2-for-20 with five strikeouts from the second spot in the order this year, last starting there on July 5.

Leyland cited Raburn’s history at U.S. Cellular Field as the reason for batting second, but it led into the familiar phrase about trying to get Raburn going as some sort of way to ignite their lineup against left-handed starters.

“It’s a common sense matchup for me,” Leyland said. “Raburn hits .308 in this park [career] with eight home runs and 30 RBIs, so if he’s ever going to get it going, this would be an opportunity. I think that makes a lot of sense. He’s had pretty successful numbers.”

To beat you to the next question, Raburn is 4-for-18 here this year with a home run, four RBIs, two walks and two strikeouts. He had five home runs and 14 RBIs combined in 2010 and 2011 here, accounting for the bulk of the production.

The other reason Leyland cited specifically for batting Raburn second is that he wanted to keep the option open to pinch-hit for him with Andy Dirks if the Sox throw a right-handed reliever at the top of the order.

No Adam Dunn in the White Sox lineup. He’s still dealing with a strained right oblique.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ryan Raburn, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Avisail Garcia, RF
  8. Omar Infante, 2B
  9. Gerald Laird, C

P: Rick Porcello

WHITE SOX

  1. Alejandro De Aza, CF
  2. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
  3. Dewayne Wise, LF
  4. Paul Konerko, 1B
  5. Alex Rios, RF
  6. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  7. Dayan Viciedo, DH
  8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

P Jose Quintana

Potential Wild Card/ALDS tickets go on sale Thursday

The Tigers have a two-game deficit to erase over the next 3 1/2 weeks, something even this week’s four-game series with the White Sox might not determine with any confidence (hey, look, here comes Cleveland on the schedule again). However, in any case, the time to get in on postseason tickets is about to start.

The Tigers announced that they’ll put individual game tickets for potential AL Wild Card and Division Series games on sale Thursday morning at 10am ET. Like last year, you can’t buy them in person. They’ll be available online at tigers.com and by phone at 866-66-TIGER. Individuals will be limited to buying four tickets per game.

At this point, the Tigers have a far better chance to win the AL Central (they’re two games behind the White Sox) than they are to capture a Wild Card spot (they’re 4 1/2 games back on that, with the Angels and Rays both closer than they are, and six games behind the A’s for the top Wild Card spot that would earn them home-field advantage for the game). Still, stranger things have happened.

Though there’s still a slight chance they could overtake the AL East combatants (Yankees/Orioles) to earn the AL’s second seed, it’s looking much more likely that the Tigers would have the third seed if they won the Central. If that ends up being the case, the schedule would have them hosting Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 6-7. Remember, this year’s postseason schedule calls for the worse-seeded team to host the first two games before the higher-seeded team hosts the rest of the best-of-5 series. For what it’s worth, the Lions have their bye week that weekend.

More details (including the refund/credit policy) are available at tigers.com/postseason.

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