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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Delmon given a day off vs. Masterson; Fielder DH'es

In a move to get Prince Fielder a day off his feet, Jim Leyland gave his first baseman a day at DH, playing Don Kelly at first base. It's the first time since April 22 that Fielder has not played the field in a game.

It's a simple switch, but it's one of those that stirs up all sorts of furor — both in the fan base, and from the manager, who doesn't like having to justify moves like this one. It's a move that Leyland had telegraphed, planning for almost a week to get it done, and dropping hints (all off the record, or "not for the paper," as Leyland would say) to reporters about it.

Another factor was the fact that the Tigers were facing Indians ace Justin Masterson, against whom right-handed batters are hitting .238, slugging just .309. Left-handed batters (like Kelly) are hitting .291, slugging .458 SLG, with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of .831. 

For reference, Young is hitting just 3-for-20 off Masterson, has struck out five times, and hit into one double play. Kelly is 5-for-15 with no strikeouts and no double plays. Oh, and he also is the current backup at first base.

One reporter asked Tuesday if the move had anything to do with Fielder being hit by pitches (part of his American League-high total of 15 times) in three out of the last four games.

"This has been set up for a week. Delmon was not going to play against Masterson, and that was the day that Prince was going to DH. This has been set up since Kansas City. Had nothing to do with Prince being hit," the manager said. "You guys aren’t getting the story. Somehow you’re missing the whole thing. I’m going to go through this one more time. I’ve talked to Prince five times this year about a day to get off his feet. This was set up four days ago. This was not a shock to anybody. Prince knew he was DHing. He was ready for the DH spot tonight. I don’t know how you guys are missing all of this."

He (understandably) went off when asked a follow-up question about the match-up with Young being part of the equation.

"Yeah, but I’m going to stop it right here. You guys have known for three days that Delmon Young is not playing tonight, and that Prince Fielder is DHing. Period. That’s the end of the debate," the manager said.

"There’s no further explanation. If you look at this chart tonight, they’ve got guys that have had a lot of success off Rick Porcello. If you turn it over, we’ve got a lot of guys that have had success against Masterson. [He then proceeded to list them off]

"So both teams have lineups tonight that have success against the opposing starting pitcher.  ... You guys are all too worried about who’s playing, why they’re playing. Don’t worry about it. Write it down. I mean, I’m just giving you a little scoop.

"That (crap) gets old, talking about that every day."

Is the problem that he hates being second-guessed? No, not really. It's deeper than that.

"I don’t mind the second-guessing thing, but I’ve never been in a place where they talk about the lineup so much. Who plays? Who doesn’t play? What they need to do is email you guys your lineups and then you guys can bring them in here to me and I’ll be sure to write that down and put that on my big card and that’s who I’ll play. Because they don’t know (bleeping bleep) about the lineup. They have no idea who is nagging, who is hurt, who hits who, who doesn’t hit who," Leyland said. "I guarantee there are people right now who want me play (rookie Avisail) Garcia everyday. I guarantee there’s somebody out there that will want me to play Garcia everyday. Guaranteed. Guaranteed."

There are. But Garcia, the rookie, is only going to play against lefties, for now.

"With (Brennan) Boesch, (Andy) Dirks and (Quintin) Berry and all those guys, I can’t play him against a right-handed pitcher right now. That’s just the way I feel. People get carried away after a guy has a couple games, well, why not put him out there? I just don’t think you can do that right now," Leyland said. "Boesch and those guys don’t do it, then they don’t do it, but I think they’ll be fine. Those are our guys. You have to remember, those are the guys that broke through with our club. They were the guys that we were counting on at the beginning of the season and they’re still here. It’s hard not to count on them now, but if they don’t do it, they don’t do it. But, I think if you’re asking some kid from Double-A to do it for you, I don’t necessary think that’s. I’m going to play him against left-handed pitching. Why not? But, I think that’s enough for right now. And, put him in for defense maybe. I think that’s enough stress right now. Though, he does not appear right now to feel any stress. He feels very relaxed and confident. He looks good."

If you'd like to email me your lineup, send them to Either way, here are tonight's lineups:

Austin Jackson, CF
Andy Dirks, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, DH
Brennan Boesch, RF
Don Kelly, 1B
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Alex Avila, C
Omar Infante, 2B

Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Carlos Santana, DH
Michael Brantley, CF
Russ Canzler, LF
Casey Kotchman, 1B
Jack Hannahan, 3B
Lou Marson, C


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