After word was passed down to the Detroit Tigers that Sunday evening’s game 2 had been postponed till Monday afternoon, I wonder if some of them decided to hit up a late church service. The way things are going, they might need to start praying for offense.
Like many of us know, bad things usually travel in threes, and today the Tigers lost another corner outfielder to injury. Magglio Ordonez, the latest member of the motor city walking wounded crew, is now done for the year with an ankle injury. With outfielders Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young already on the shelf, this leaves Detroit in a very crummy situation.
Heading into to Monday’s game 2, Delmon Young led Detroit with six postseason hits. Ordonez was second on the list with five. The rest of the Tiger’s lineup has been for the most part tamed since the playoffs began.
Austin Jackson, Detroit’s leadoff man has had a very rough go in the postseason so far. He is 3-21 with 11 strikeouts in the playoffs. And equally concerning are the contributions the Tigers are getting from the meat and potatoes of their lineup.
Miguel Cabrera, whose quiet year may actually be deserving of some MVP consideration is 4-18 with 6 strikeouts. Victor Martinez is 4-21 with 6 strikeouts. Jhonny Peralta is 5-21 with six strikeouts. And last but not least, Alex Avila, the starting catcher for the AL in this year’s all-star game is a disappointing 1-20 with nine strikeouts.
The Texas Rangers are no doubt a tough opponent for Detroit. But heading into this series, the Tigers had to be optimistic about how they matched up with these guys. The Rangers are very heavy in the left-handed pitching department, and it so happens the Tigers have been handling left-handed pitching pretty well all year long. But with Delmon Young and Magglio Ordonez out of order, that eliminates two important right-handed bats from their lineup.
Miguel Cabrera has the capability of putting the Tigers on his back. But if he continues to try and swing for the fences and come up empty every at-bat, the only alternative is getting small contributions from everyone else in the lineup.
These three Tigers have been with the team for a while now. Inge has been around since 2001 in fact, and has connected for 27 homers in a season twice. For a while this year, it looked like his glory days were behind him, especially when the Tigers traded for Wilson Betemit. But Wilson is 0-9 so far in the playoffs, and Inge will more than likely be called upon to make something happen on offense.
Raburn and Santiago have been viewed as part-time players for a majority of their careers, but due to the circumstances, it looks like they will get their chances to play major roles in these playoffs. Raburn is 3-8 so far this postseason, and usually fairs well against lefties. Meanwhile, Santiago has already seen a lot of action this postseason, as he is 5-18 so far.
The Ranger’s lineup is obviously deep, and no matter how well Detroit pitches, rest assured they will be putting some runs on the board. If Detroit’s big guns continue to be quiet, they will need to hope some of the role players step it up a notch.
Opportunities like this don’t come around every year, especially in Detroit. If the Rangers’ powerful lineup were to simply outclass the Tiger’s pitching staff, that would be one thing. But to have a quiet exit in the ALCS because a top-five offense in the league simply goes cold, well that would be disappointing.