October 17th, 2013

ALCS Game 5 lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

Just as Jim Leyland forecast, he went with the same lineup in Game 5 that he used in Game 4. The one change he made was in flip-flopping Omar Infante and Alex Avila in the batting order, getting  back-to-back right-handed hitters against left-handed Jon Lester.

With Boston manager John Farrell looking for a way to spark his own offense, the Red Sox are going to roll with rookie Xander Bogaerts at third base over Will Middlebrooks.

TIGERS (career/series numbers against Jon Lester)

  1. Torii Hunter, RF (13-for-33, HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s / 0-for-3, K)
  2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (11-for-21, HR, 6 walks, K / 1-for-2, walk)
  3. Prince Fielder, 1B (5-for-17, walk, 3 K’s / 1-for-2)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (6-for-17, HR, 2 walks / 0-for-3)
  5. Jhonny Peralta, LF (10-for-30, 2 HR, 5 walks, 7 K’s / 2-for-3)
  6. Omar Infante, 2B (2-for-9, K / 0-for-3, K)
  7. Alex Avila, C (4-for-9, 3 K’s / 1-for-3, K)
  8. Austin Jackson, CF (5-for-17, walk, 3 K’s / 1-for-3, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-3 / 0-for-2)

P: Anibal Sanchez

RED SOX (career numbers against Sanchez, which generally is the same as series numbers)

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
  2. Shane Victorino, RF (10-for-46, HR, 4 walks, 9 K’s)
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B (0-for-1, 2 walks)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (3-for-6, 2 HR, 2 K’s)
  5. Mike Napoli, 1B (0-for-2, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Jonny Gomes, LF (1-for-4, walk)
  7. Stephen Drew, SS (5-for-22, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
  8. Xander Bogaerts, 3B
  9. David Ross, C (2-for-12, HR, 2 walks, 3 K’s)

P: Jon Lester

Did Tigers lineup shift make a difference?

It seems to depend on who you ask. Technically, everybody but Jose Iglesias was batting in a different spot in the order. The sequential order of most of the hitters, however, remained the same.

As players gave their opinion, you could tell those two facets drew different opinions.

It certainly felt different to Jackson, who got to watch seven batters’ worth of pitches from Jake Peavy before stepping to the plate.

“It felt a little different, just hitting down in the order and coming up after guys have already hit and getting a chance to see what he’s doing to guys,” Jackson said. “I think that it definitely helped to be able to get to see some of the pitches that he was throwing other guys and just have a game plan when you go up there.”

For Torii Hunter, the feeling was in reverse, only by a much smaller difference.

“It was a lot of fun, being at the top,” Torii Hunter said. “It kind of created havoc. You try to change the mindset of the players in the lineup, Miggy hitting second, Prince hitting third, Victor hitting fourth. It was a lot of fun. I think it settled us down and allowed us to do what we had to do.”

It was less of a difference for everybody else.

“The first inning, it was a little bit – I don’t know how to say,” Miguel Cabrera said. “But in the second inning, third inning, we made the adjustment and tried to do our job.”

That job did not change for him batting second compared to third.

“I’m not going to bunt. I’m not going to hit and run,” he said. “I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and try to do my job.”

Said Alex Avila: “After the first inning, it doesn’t matter where anybody bats. Obviously because Skip changed it, people are going to ask about it, but it’s not really a big deal to us.”

Said new cleanup hitter Victor Martinez: “[Leyland’s] the boss. We still have to execute.”