Detroit Tigers Draft Unsurprising Lineup For ALCS Game 3

Tuesday's Game 3 of the ALCS between the Tigers and the Rangers has a righty on the mound for Texas, so in response, Jim Leyland has put together the following starting lineup:

Austin Jackson, CF
Don Kelly*, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez#, DH
Alex Avila*, C
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Ryan Raburn, RF
Ramon Santiago#, 2B

I say "unsurprising" in the headline because this is basically identical to the lineup the Tigers used against righty Ivan Nova in Game 5 of the ALDS, except with Ryan Raburn in place of the injured Magglio Ordonez.

It's probably not the best possible lineup they could put together. For one thing, three of the first four batters are right-handed, and Colby Lewis is really tough on righties. And for another, Delmon Young is starting ahead of the left-handed Andy Dirks, even though Dirks is the superior defender, and probably the superior bat given this particular matchup. Especially with Young still below 100 percent due to his minor oblique injury.

But Leyland and the Tigers believe in Young as a big bat, so they're not going to leave him out in favor of some unproven kid. Not now, not with their backs against the wall in the ALCS. They want Young, so they'll play Young.

Wilson Betemit will be available as a switch-hitting weapon off the bench. Betemit's still hitless in the playoffs, but he's batted .290 over the last two regular seasons with an .838 OPS, and he's historically been more dangerous from the left side. He'd almost certainly be a better play at third base than Don Kelly, so go ahead and count that as another critique.

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