The Tigers have released their starting lineup for tonight’s middle game with the Washington Nationals. The most notable name missing yet again is that of rookie centerfielder Austin Jackson.
Jackson, the AL Rookie of the Month in April, has missed most of the past two games after leaving Sunday’s contest early with back spasms, he hasn’t played since.
Replacing Jackson in the order, and also on defense is utilityman Don Kelly, who will make just his third start in centerfield and his second start batting at the top of the order. Kelly has never faced Nationals starter Livan Hernandez.
Also a surprise in the lineup is Gerald Laird, who gets rewarded for his season-best three hit effort last night with a second straight start. Laird, playing despite the platoon advantage that Alex Avila would provide, is 2-for-4 career against the junkballing righthander.
While Laird is being rewarded for his big game last evening, Ryan Raburn is back on the bench tonight despite his two hit day that included a long three-run homer.
You could say that Laird is playing because of the past success he’s had versus Hernandez, but I’ll remind you that that isn’t always the way Jim Leyland does things. On an early season road trip to Los Angeles, Leyland started Adam Everett at shortstop and kept Ramon Santiago on the bench despite Santiago being 2-for-3 with two homers against Angels starter Scott Kazmir. (…)
CF- Don Kelly
DH- Johnny Damon
RF- Magglio Ordonez
1B- Miguel Cabrera
LF- Brennan Boesch
2B- Carlos Guillen
3B- Brandon Inge
C- Gerald Laird
SS- Ramon Santiago