Detroit — “We needed to change something,” manager Jim Leyland said about Wednesday night’s lineup.
“You’re darn right we needed to change something. So we changed something.”
For Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park, the Tigers did more than change “something.”
They changed their lineup 1-8 by bumping struggling Austin Jackson from leadoff to eighth in the batting order — and by bumping everybody else up a spot.
That meant Torii Hunter led off, Miguel Cabrera hit second, Prince Fielder third, and so on.
“I was lying on my couch, watching the Cardinals-Dodgers, but I had my pad and pencil, and thinking that we had to do something,” Leyland said.
“But I couldn’t take Jackson out because Doug Fister is a contact pitcher, so I wanted him in center.”
Leyland knew Jackson couldn’t lead off again, but came up with a batting order he really liked.
“I’m trying to get Jackson to relax,” Leyland said. “So for him hitting eighth might be different for him. I just tried to get the focus off him as a leadoff hitter.
“He arguably got the biggest hit of the entire postseason for us (his broken bat single against Oakland in Game 4 of the Division Series), but I had to try something.
“I did it because it made sense. I had to get him out of there.”
When Leyland came up with the lineup that he eventually went with, “I was so thrilled, I couldn’t wait to get here today,” he said. “We did something that seemed to make sense.
“I wanted to play my regular centerfielder with Fister pitching, but I had to get him out of the No. 1 hole. I feel bad for the kid. My heart aches for him.
“I love this lineup, though, because in my heart I’m doing something I know I had to do. I had to do something and I did something.
“If people want to say we’re panicking, we’re panicking. I don’t care what they say. You can call it whatever you want.
“We had to try something different from an offensive standpoint. I ain’t afraid, I can tell you that.”
WEDNESDAY’S TIGERS LINEUP
1. Torii Hunter, RF
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, LF
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Omar Infante, 2B
8. Austin Jackson, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Doug Fister, RHP