It's a much needed off day for both the Tigers, and an angst filled fanbase. It's been a roller-coaster ride following the Tigers this past week, with extreme highs (Justin Verlander mowing down Yankees in game 3) and bottom of the barrel lows (Last night's 8th inning). And Tigers fans were at an emotional low ebb after Tuesday night's blowout loss.
But it's a 5 game series in the ALDS, and it takes 3 win to end it. This series is not fait accompli just because it's headed back to New York. The Tigers have proven they can win in the Bronx bandbox called Yankee Stadium. (I swear Miguel Cabrera would hit 60 bombs there...good thing he's a Tiger). Just look back at game 2. So we know it can be done.
I think a Doug Fister - Ivan Nova matchup favors the Tigers. Fister is a veteran who was the best pitcher in baseball over the last 2 months of the season. Nova is solid, but he remains a rookie who has greatly benefited pitching for a loaded offensive lineup. With a game under their belt against Nova, the Tigers know what's coming.
Sure, it would help if Alex Avila and Austin Jackson would start hitting, Al Alburquerque would channel his regular season self and the Tigers would get the bottom of the Yankees' order out. But the series remains very, very winnable, no question about it.
Though it might be a little easier if Jim Leyland would bust out his best lineup...which is always open to interpretation.
In the comments of my last post, Honeyman tosses out his preferred game 5 lineup:
CF Austin Jackson
2B Ramon Santiago
LF Delmon Young
1B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
RF Magglio Ordonez
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila
3B Brandon Inge
Personally, I don't see much wrong with this batting order. Though it would not bother me to see Ryan Raburn's bat in a lineup that could use the extra firepower.
So here's your chance to discuss the Tigers' game 5 lineup and batting order. Are you happy with Leyland's moves to this point? Has Raburn been under used? Can Inge continue to hit? Will Avila start hitting? Why does Don Kelly stay in the starting lineup?
Feel free to chime in with your lineup in the comments...and commiserate with other angsty Tigers fans.