October 13th, 2013
Just as Jim Leyland did behind Justin Verlander in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, he has Jhonny Peralta at shortstop and Don Kelly in left field. Max Scherzer hasn’t pitched to strikeouts and fly balls to quite the same extreme as Verlander, but he’s in the same mold when he’s on. Considering how many sliders and breaking balls the Red Sox missed in Game 1, it’s an offensive tradeoff Leyland clearly felt was worth the risk.
That said, Leyland defended Peralta’s play at short in the interview room.
“Jhonny Peralta is no donkey. He’s made the All‑Star team twice for me as a shortstop in the last few years,” Leyland said. “He’s a very good shortstop. We’re trying to get another bat in there, and we felt it would be the best way to do it.
“Like I said, this guy is a bona fide Major League shortstop. This is not a utility guy you’re playing there. This is a topnotch shortstop. He doesn’t have the range [Jose] Iglesias has, but this is a very, very good shortstop.”
So why Don Kelly in left field over Andy Dirks, you ask? Leyland has your answer.
“Donnie Kelly probably wouldn’t be playing left field tonight if Andy Dirks was swinging good,” Leyland said.
TIGERS (career numbers off Buchholz)
- Austin Jackson, CF (5-for-19, HR, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
- Torii Hunter, RF (4-for-24, 4 walks, 4 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B (5-for-21, 3 walks, 3 K’s)
- Prince Fielder, 1B (1-for-6, walk, K)
- Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-6)
- Jhonny Peralta, LF (5-for-17, 4 K’s)
- Alex Avila, C (3-for-8, 3 walks, K)
- Omar Infante, 2B (2-for-8, walk, K)
- Don Kelly, LF (1-for-3)
P: Max Scherzer
RED SOX (career numbers off Scherzer)
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (5-for-9, HR, 3 walks, K)
- Shane Victorino, RF (2-for-10, 3 K’s)
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B (4-for-17, 2 HR, 2 K’s)
- David Ortiz, DH (7-for-15, 3 HR, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
- Mike Carp, 1B (2-for-8, walk, 5 K’s)
- Jonny Gomes, LF (2-for-6, 2 K’s)
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C (5-for-12, HR, 4 K’s)
- Stephen Drew, SS (2-for-11, walk, 4 K’s)
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B (1-for-6, 4 K’s)
P: Clay Buchholz