Results tagged ‘ Andy Dirks ’
Brandon Inge’s return from exile will come a little earlier than expected. Not only will the Tigers purchase his contract from Triple-A Toledo Saturday, they’ll put him in the starting lineup against Indians lefty starter David Huff Saturday night. From there, a very interesting mix at third base is going to unfold for the stretch run.
Jim Leyland made the announcement on the Inge move, and he explained it as this: The Tigers expect to see four or five left-handed starters between now and Sept. 1, when Inge was expected to come up. Inge has been pounding left-handed pitching while with the Mud Hens, 15-for-38 (.395) with three home runs and nine RBIs against lefties when you add in his rehab assignment in June. Yes, those are Triple-A lefties rather than David Price, whom the Tigers are scheduled to face next week. But they’re also signs of a comfort level.
Though Wilson Betemit’s a switch-hitter, his splits are much stronger against righties (.313) than lefties (.238, 34 strikeouts in 90 plate appearances). He also had been giving up starts to Don Kelly for defensive purposes.
Leyland floated the idea Wednesday. He followed through on Friday.
The move to send down Andy Dirks is more procedural than performance. The Tigers can option him out and bring him back Sept. 1 with no problem, and they
should might be able to get him eligible for a postseason roster spot if they choose, in case of a player on the DL. And with the slate of lefties they have ahead of them, though Dirks has fared pretty well against southpaws, they’re not going to sit Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, Delmon Young or Magglio Ordonez to get Dirks a spot against them.
Once the Indians took a 6-4 lead into the ninth inning, everyone expected Chris Perez to take the mound and close the game against the top of the Tigers lineup. Manager Jim Leyland’s counter-move was very much unexpected: Andy Dirks pinch-hitting for Austin Jackson, whose job as leadoff man is to get on base for the middle of the order.
Left-handed batters hit 50 points higher than right-handed ones against Perez, but at .229 to .179, it’s not necessarily a vast difference. However, that wasn’t the reason for Leyland to make the move.
“It was very simple,” Leyland said. “That guy, obviously, has been throwing very well. But at times, he can get wild, and I felt like Dirks had a better chance to walk than Jackson. We were taking strike one, obviously to try to get the tying run to the plate, and just felt that he had a better chance to walk maybe than AJ.
“You know, AJ might have gotten a line-drive base hit. Who knows? I just felt like in that situation, that guy gets a little wild, then I think he’s got a better chance to get a walk, get on base. I’m trying to get one guy on there for the big guys coming up.”
For what it’s worth, Perez’s splits show left-handed hitters drawing 10 of Perez’s 12 walks on the season, an imbalance that far outweighs the at-bat difference. For the season, though, Jackson’s walk rate is just about equal to that of Dirks since the Tigers called him up last month, albeit with far different sample sizes.
Perez was among the surprised, and he wasn’t shy talking about it.
“I was,” he said. “I’ll take it. Jackson is a better hitter than Dirks, in my opinion. But I’ll take it. I know my splits against lefties or righties aren’t the best, but it doesn’t matter. I’d much rather face a rookie in Andy Dirks than Austin Jackson, who finished second or third in the rookie of the year voting last year. And he’s seen me six times so he knows what I’ve got. Dirks had never seen me before so I think the advantage was me.”
Dirks struck out on three pitches, with a swing and miss at a slider.
Magglio Ordonez is not in the starting lineup. Andy Dirks gets the start in left field, as Jim Leyland tries to get him out of his June skid, with Brennan Boesch shifting over to right. I’m guessing this is part of Jim Leyland’s plan for mixing in four outfielders among three spots.
I’m also guessing he won’t say much at all about it.
Leyland said that he plans on playing Ordonez in the other two games of this series. He chose this one to rest him in part to get another left-handed bat (Dirks) in the lineup against Cleveland starter Justin Masterson, who’s allowing a .194 average to right-handed hitters.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Don Kelly, 3B
- Brennan Boesch, RF
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, DH
- Andy Dirks, LF
- Alex Avila, C
- Ramon Santiago, SS
- Ryan Raburn, 2B
P: Justin Verlander
- Grady Sizemore, DH
- Carlos Santana, C
- Michael Brantley, CF
- Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
- Shin-Soo Choo, RF
- Orlando Cabrera, 2B
- Travis Buck, LF
- Matt LaPorta, 1B
- Jack Hannahan, 3B
P: Justin Masterson