September 2nd, 2013

Game 138: Iglesias impresses again

Four weeks into Jose Iglesias’ tenure as Tigers shortstop, you get the sense that his teammates are becoming accustomed to seeing him make highlight plays — not spoiled, mind you, but accustomed.

The latest rendition was his double-play Monday, whirling to tag Shane Victorino, then firing against his momentum to retire Dustin Pedroia. The reaction from the Tigers clubhouse after the 3-0 win was not shock, but it shouldn’t be. They can’t be shocked.

“He’s made about three already that I’ve never seen before,” Jim Leyland said.

They’re never the same play, but they contribute to the same realization: Iglesias is as good of a shortstop as scouts and pundits suggested the Tigers were getting. He’s a game-changer.

“That kid, he’s got great hands and moves all over the diamond,” Doug Fister said. “It’s such a blessing to have him. The things he brings to this team, it’s astounding.”

The Tigers turned three double plays Monday, erasing three of the eight baserunners Fister allowed over his seven innings. Iglesias played a role in all three DPs. Afterwards, he talked with Boston writers about the way he has established himself already in Detroit.

“Different philosophies, but at the end of the day, everybody’s in the same place, to win ballgames. I really like it here so far,” Iglesias said.

For someone who played just 45 games at Fenway Park during his Red Sox career, Iglesias received a surprisingly large ovation when he stepped to the plate for his first at-bat. 

“The fans here are great,” he said. “It was really fun to play for this team.”

That said, he held no grudges over leaving.

“I love the guys over there. It’s nothing personal,” he said. “It’s a business at the end of the day. But it was fun to come here today and get a W.”

Labor Day lineups: Tigers at Red Sox

Fenway 029

Miguel Cabrera is out again today. No word on whether he’s available to pinch-hit, but there seemed to be no mystery whether he’d start. The wait this morning was on Austin Jackson and his status. For now, at least, he appears to be available. Dave Dombrowski reportedly told a Boston radio station this morning that Cabrera will probably return at some point in this series.

The new twist to the Tigers lineup comes after Jackson. Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez all move up in the Tigers lineup. Jim Leyland wants to give him potentially one more at-bat late in the game, presumably meaning one more chance to hit one out. Fielder bats third for the first time since Aug. 13, 2010 with the Brewers. Martinez hit cleanup four times in 2011, three of them on days when Miguel Cabrera was off.

Andy Dirks will hit fifth. Don Kelly, playing third in Cabrera’s place, will bat seventh.

The forecast in Boston today calls for showers, but probably not until late this afternoon or into the evening. They’re taking batting practice on the field today, so the weather for this morning into game time looks good.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

TIGERS (career numbers off John Lackey)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF (1-for-4, 2 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (12-for-52, 2 HR, 3 walks, 10 K’s)
  3. Prince Fielder, 1B (3-for-6)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (10-for-26, 4 walks, 3 K’s)
  5. Andy Dirks, LF (1-for-2, walk)
  6. Omar Infante, 2B (3-for-12, 6 K’s)
  7. Don Kelly, 3B (2-for-3)
  8. Alex Avila, C (0-for-4, 2 walks, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Doug Fister

RED SOX (career numbers vs. Fister)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (3-for-6, 2 walks)
  2. Shane Victorino, RF (3-for-3, HR)
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (3-for-10, walk)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (5-for-17, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  5. Daniel Nava, LF (3-for-10, walk, K)
  6. Mike Napoli, 1B (2-for-13, K)
  7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (5-for-8, HR)
  8. Stephen Drew, SS (1-for-6, K)
  9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B (1-for-2, walk, K)

P: John Lackey