Should Jim Leyland Have Benched Alex Avila Against Sabathia?

For a left-handed-hitting catcher, Alex Avila has fared decently enough against left-handed pitchers, with a .263/.344/.409 career line against southpaws.

But counting tonight, he's faced CC Sabathia 10 times, and struck out six times.

And tonight, anyway, he's looked completely overmatched while striking out twice.

Jim Leyland has stacked his lineup with right-handed hitters against Sabathia, with Avila the only lefty swinger in the bunch. But Leyland could have gone all the way, playing Brandon Inge behind the plate instead of Avila, with switch-hitting Wilson Betemit playing third base instead of Inge.

I'm not saying Leyland should have done that. Avila might come up big against Sabathia, later.

But he could have done that.

Mea Culpa: I wasn't smart to remember (or check) Inge's recent history; he hasn't caught a game since 2008, so was hardly an option to replace Avila. The Tigers' lone backup catcher throughout the postseason is apparently Omir Santos, who played in only 11 games with Detroit all season, and can't hit at all. So it's Avila or bust.

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