Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Tigers lineup dilemma: who bats against Gavin Floyd?

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Tigers manager Jim Leyland has a dilemma Wednesday as he tries to get his team on track against the White Sox:
What lineup does he use against right-hander Gavin Floyd?
``The people who love the lineup [guessing] will have a ball because I have a real dilemma,'' Leyland said Tuesday.
His problem surround how to use infielder/outfielder Ryan Raburn and outfielder Brennan Boesch.
Raburn is still ``sluggish'', Leyland said, after hurting his a right quad within days of returning Sept. 1 from a month-long right thumb injury.
Boesch has the power potential Leyland wants--but not against Floyd.
``I've watched Raburn and he's sluggish,'' Leyland said. ``I think the leg is still bothering him.''
Raburn also committed an error Monday night when he dropped a fly to left - center field after calling off Austin Jackson. It was one of three Tigers errors, but didn't cost the team.
Raburn, hitting only .171 in 66 games in this injury-filled season, was out of the lineup Tuesday against right-hander Jake Peavy. But he would have played against Sox lefty Francisco LIriano, who was originally scheduled Wednesday.
Floyd, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 26, improved enough from a right elbow flexor strain to return against the Tigers, pushing Liriano back to the weekend series in Minnesota against the Twins.
Raburn has hit Floyd in the past [12-37, .324, with three RBI], ``but I won't play him even though he's hit Floyd because I think he's still sore,'' Leyland said.
``I might DH him because he hits in this park [Raburn's average in U.S. Cellular Field is .309 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 47 games].''
Lefty Boesch also has hit well at Sox Park (.286, four home runs, seven RBI in 20 games)--but not against Floyd.
``You'd like to play Boesch in this park, and he will play [Thursday] against Chris Sale]--but he's 0-for-17 with six strikeouts against Floyd,'' Leyland said.
``If you don't play him and don't play Raburn, you have to figure out what to do. I'll probably play Boesch because in this park, he might hit a homer--but it's a mindboggling thing when you look at the numbers.''
The lineup is a worry because the offense has been the Tigers' worry.
During a 1-6 stretch entering Tuesday's game, the Tigers had scored only 17 runs, including hitting only .185 with six runs scored during a four-game road losing streak.
While the pitching staff has posted a 2.76 ERA in the last 24 games, the offense has scored only 3.7 runs per game.
The Tigers are 12-12 in those games.
``It could be frustrating [for the pitchers],'' Leyland said. ``But it doesn't change what the pitcher has to do. He should feel `I want to shut this [opposing] team down', whether he has runs [support] or not.''
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This page contains a single entry by Toni Ginnetti published on September 11, 2012 6:12 PM.

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