Detroit — What now for Game 4? Any lineup changes, Jim Leyland?
He didn’t say no.
What Leyland did say after the Tigers’ 1-0 loss on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series is that “the only thing you could think about would possibly playing Donnie (Kelly) in center.
“I would think that would be the only move you could think about.”
It’s a move that Leyland admitted he thought about “one time in the series,” but that “I’m not really sure that’s the answer.
“I’ll have to think about that one. Sometimes you just have to live with it unless you really come up with something you really think makes sense.”
By going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk, Austin Jackson is hitting .091 (3-for-33 with 18 strikeouts) for the postseason and .077 (1-for-13 in the ALCS.
Jhonny Peralta is staying in the lineup, of course.
But moving from short back to left field for Game 4 — with Jose Iglesias starting at short.
Despite his double-play grounder to short in the ninth, Peralta obviously has become a must-play in the postseason for the Tigers because of his bat.
His double in the fifth was the Tigers’ only extra-base hit.
With Peralta at short, Andy Dirks started in left, and batted ninth — a spot where he had only 12 at-bats all year, compared to 135 at sixth and 106 at leadoff.
“Where else am I going to put him?,” said Leyland “Alex (Avila) is swinging good, Peralta is swinging good.”
It’s left field that has become a three-way tag team for the Tigers — with Peralta, Kelly and Dirks sharing the time out there
Dirks was the choice for Game 3 because Leyland thought he might hit.
“He’s struggled a little bit, and has been off a while now,” Leyland said. “But he’s had time to clear the cobwebs a little bit.”
“We’re not getting a lot of production out of left field unless we’re playing Peralta there, but Dirks has done it a little (2-for-5) against (John) Lackey, so we thought we’d change it up a little bit
“Maybe we’ll catch lightning in a bottle.”
That didn’t happen. Dirks went 0-for-2 before leaving for a pinch-hitter (Iglesias, who struck out).
Hit by pitch
Two of the most frequent hitters to do so are in this series, Prince Fielder for the Tigers and Shane Victorino for the Red Sox.
In fact, through his first seven games of the postseason, Victorino has been hit five times, and through eight games, Fielder — with two — is the only Tiger hit more than once.
There’s a difference between the two, however.
“I don’t know that Prince is trying to get hit, by any means,” said Leyland, “and I think Victorino doesn’t really care if he gets hit. He stands up on top of the plate, so he gets hit a lot.”
Any problem with that?
“I don’t have any,” Leyland said.
Neither do the Tigers’ pitchers, but at the same time, they weren’t going to change what they do.
“I’m still going to pitch inside,” said Doug Fister, who will start Game 4. “That’s what I do. Obviously, numbers-wise this year, I’ve hit a few (16) that have gotten away from me.
“And the guys that stand on the inside of the plate, I think they know that. But it’s a matter of we’re going to make our pitch.”
Said Justin Verlander of Victorino “I’ve seen some pitches that he got hit on that were strikes I think just whoever is the home plate umpire needs to be aware that he’s up there.
“But you can’t think about not hitting a guy. You have to think about not changing anything.”
Martinez suffers 'little cramp'
Victor Martinez is fine.
After leading off the ninth with a single, the Tigers designated hitter appeared to land awkwardly on his left leg. He returned to first and stretched it out, but was replaced by pinch-runner Hernan Perez, who was out via a double play
Martinez said afterward it was just “a little cramp.”
“Not a big deal,” he said.
Tony Paul contributed