I could swear that Spring Training ended in April, yet as I write this, the Tigers are about to field a lineup you would expect to see only in Lakeland.
- CF Austin Jackson
- 2B Will Rhymes
- LF Ryan Raburn
- DH Brennan Boesch
- RF Casper Wells
- SS Jhonny Peralta
- 3B Brandon Inge
- 1B Don Kelly
- C Alex Avila
Just take a look at the career totals for the top five batters in tonight’s lineup. Jackson has been phenomenal in his rookie season, but has all of 161 career hits, Rhymes has 40. Raburn is the grizzled veteran with all of 356 games played and 238 hits. Boesch has 111 hits and Wells has 15.
Of course, experience doesn’t always matter and the numbers these guys have put up lately are really quite good. The group as a whole has put up a .310 average (36-for-116) this month with five home runs.
Still, White Sox left hander John Danks has to be licking his chops at the thought of facing a Tigers lineup so devoid of experience, at least at the top. Sure Peralta and Inge have been around for a while, but neither have done much versus Danks in the past.
The Tigers are using four lefties in the order tonight which would seem to go against the conventional wisdom of lefty-lefty match-ups as well. Jim Leyland may be going with the numbers, however, which show that Danks is far more effective against right handed batters than lefties, with RHB hitting just .206 versus Danks, while LHB are hitting .286 this year. LHB hold an OPS of .729 against Danks while righties are coming in a .593 as well.
So you have the least reliable of the Tigers starters going up against a team that has given him fits, against a pitcher that has a history of great success against Detroit and a lineup that features six rookies and a 3-4-5 that all played at Triple-A this year. Looks like a recipe for disater.
But then again, it’s these kind of games that typically go against what we would expect. On paper, the Tigers should get blown out in this game, but games aren’t played on paper, they’re played inside TV sets.
There’s no reason to feel good about the game tonight, but I do anyway. Maybe Bondo will pitch his tail off, maybe Boesch will run into one, maybe the Tigers win this game when there’s no reason to think they will.