Jim Leyland has rolled the dice for ALDS Game 5 and it's come up "Peralta at short." He's benched slick-fielding rookie Jose Iglesias and will shift Jhonny Peralta, the Tigers' leading playoff run producer, back to his natural position of shortstop. What the Tigers lose defensively should be more than made up by the offensive upgrade. Iglesias is hitting just .083/.154/.083 compared to Peralta's .375/.375/.875, one home run and five RBIs.
Though Peralta may be getting his first start at shortstop since his 50 game suspension kicked in, he did play the position in two of the three games to end the season against the Marlins. You can be assured Iglesias will take over at shortstop if the Tigers are holding a late lead.
Leyland's other dice roll is Don Kelly batting ninth and playing in left over Andy Dirks and Peralta. Kelly likely gets the start over Dirks thanks to his 2-for-3 performance against A's starter Sonny Gray in Game 2. He's obviously the better choice defensively over Peralta, who would have issues with Oakland's vast outfield.
The A's have made one significant lineup change for Game 5. Left-hand hitting second baseman Eric Sogard has been replaced by right-hand hitting Alberto Callaspo. The Tigers' all right-hand throwing rotation had remanded Callaspo to pinch-hitting duty in the first four games. Hoping to inject a little more pop into the lineup, Bob Melvin elects to play Callaspo despite his .672 OPS versus right-handed pitching.
The batting order has been juggled as well. Yoenis Cespedes is batting cleanup instead of his normal fifth, Seth Smith is bumped to fifth and Brandon Moss is lowered to sixth.
Rookie right-hander Sonny Gray, who held the Tigers scoreless over eight innings in Game 2 gets a somewhat surprising start. Game 1 loser Bartolo Colon was passed over for the assignment, but is reportedly available to pitch in relief.
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