Which Second Baseman Gets Game Five Nod?


It was reported early Wednesday evening that Magglio Ordonez would get the start for the Tigers in right field Thursday night in their win-or-go-home contest at Yankee Stadium. Manager Jim Leyland said he also plans to shift Don Kelly from the outfield to the hot corner in favor of both Brandon Inge and the seemingly overwhelmed Wilson Betemit.

The only remaining question for Leyland, then, other than the batting order, is who he will start at second base. The two candidates, of course, are Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn.

Good defense at second base might be vital in this game, and it might not be. Santiago has a clear edge in fielding, which could be critical due to the fact that ground ball pitcher Doug Fister will be on the hill for Detroit. Then again, with Fister on the mound Saturday night in game one, Raburn had to field just a single ground ball.

In the same game, Raburn made two plate appearances against Ivan Nova, the Yankees’ game five starter. In his first, he hit a line drive single to right field. In his second, he struck out swinging on a changeup in the dirt. Those are his only two at bats to date against the New York rookie. Raburn is 2-for-5 overall at the plate so far this postseason, and he was 18-for-47 (.383) in 17 regular season games in September.

Santiago, meanwhile, is just 2-for-10 in the 2011 postseason. His two hits (a double and a single off CC Sabathia), however, both knocked in Inge, providing two pivotal runs in the Tigers’ 5-4 game three victory. He went 17-for-63 (.270) in 22 September games, and has never faced Nova.

Earlier today, Mickey Brignall, Staff Writer at Motor City Bengals and Editor at Call to the Pen, wrote that he assumed the Tigers’ skipper would stick with Santiago; “He has the ability to hit left-handed, plays a bit better defense (than Raburn), and has already notched some big hits in this series.”

A quick Twitter query revealed passionate supporters for both candidates and even elicited one humorous response calling for the Mets’ soon-to-be free agent Jose Reyes to get the start.

What do you think? Answer the poll below, and leave a comment with any other moves you think Leyland should make on Thursday night.