Tigers vs Red Sox ALCS Game 4 lineups: Detroit shakes up batting order

Jared Wickerham

With Austin Jackson demoted to the eighth spot, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera find themselves in unfamiliar territory for Wednesday's game.

The Red Sox and Tigers square off Wednesday night for Game 4 of the ALCS. While Boston is pushing ahead with a very familiar lineup despite its offensive struggles, Detroit has opted to shake things up considerably.

Tigers skipper Jim Leyland has finally had enough of Austin Jackson's struggles at the plate this postseason. The veteran skipper has bumped his regular leadoff man down to the eight spot for Wednesday's game, putting the players at the top of the order in some very unfamiliar territory.

To wit:

Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, LF
Alex Avila, C
Omar Infante, 2B
Austin Jackson, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Doug Fister SP

That'd be Torii Hunter batting leadoff, something he hasn't done as a starter since July 4, 1999. (Coincidentally, that game came against the Tigers.) Hunter has just 15 starts and 71 career plate appearances in the No. 1 spot, likely because he's hit .164/.211/.239 in those few trips to the plate -- though small sample-size caveats abound.

Cabrera is also treading into unfamiliar waters by hitting in the two hole. He has just nine career plate appearances in the second spot, all of which came when he was a member of the (Florida) Marlins back in 2004.

Also of note is Jose Iglesias sliding back into the nine spot and resuming shortstop duties, which pushes Jhonny Peralta back into the outfield.

For the Sox, things stay pretty much the same other than Daniel Nava moving back into the lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C 
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jake Peavy SP

While some might argue that Game 4 of the ALCS isn't a time for putting your best hitters in positions they are unfamiliar with, others would argue that Leyland's decision to bump the heavy hitters up a spot in lieu of throwing Andy Dirks or Don Kelly into the leadoff role is the better approach.

Red Sox starter Jake Peavy doesn't have the velocity of Boston's other starters, so getting back to Hunter, Cabrera, et al., one spot sooner -- potentially giving one or both of them an extra at-bat -- gives them more opportunity to take advantage of Peavy's not-so-electric heater. Cabrera has struggled against hard heat all postseason, so giving him as many opportunities as possible against Peavy -- as marginal as a one-spot move is -- should work in their favor.

The reason for all the moving and shaking comes down to Austin Jackson's newfound inability to make contact with the baseball. His numbers dipped some at the dish in the regular season, but his futility this October has been historic. Through eight games, Jackson is batting .091/.143/.121 with 18 strikeouts in 35 plate appearances.

He's been so bad that Leyland has gone on record saying he's doing Jackson a solid by demoting him:

Likely the only reason that Jackson isn't out of the lineup altogether is because he provides stellar defense in center.

More from SB Nation MLB:

Cards take 3-1 series lead behind Holliday, Carpenter | More NLCS coverage

Do the Dodgers celebrate too much?

Red Sox get by stingy Verlander | More ALCS coverage

Goldman: Gibson’s HR still gives wrong idea about him

Meet Sir Bam Bam, who may be the future of big league managing

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.