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Austin Jackson must turn it around against Red Sox

Oct 11, 2013, 12:05 AM EDT

Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics - Game Two Getty Images

The Tigers escaped the ALDS against the A’s despite scoring more than three runs just once in five games. They’re going to need to do better than that against the Red Sox, and it will have to start at the top with leadoff man Austin Jackson.

Looking lost at the plate, Jackson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts on Thursday to finish the ALDS 2-for-20 with 13 strikeouts and just one walk. He scored one of Detroit’s 17 runs in the series.

Jackson fared far better in the regular season against the Red Sox, batting .478 and scoring seven runs in the six games in which he played. Overall, the Tigers were 4-3 against the Red Sox, despite being outscored 43-34.

(20 of those runs the Red Sox scored came in one game, the last played by the two teams back on Sept. 4. The Tigers’ starter in that one, Rick Porcello, isn’t part of the postseason rotation.)

The rotations for the ALCS have yet to be announced, but they’ll probably shake out like this:

Games 1 & 5: Anibal Sanchez vs. Jon Lester
Games 2 & 6: Max Scherzer vs. John Lackey
Games 3 & 7: Justin Verlander vs. Clay Buchholz
Game 4: Doug Fister vs. Jake Peavy

Those pitching matchups are obviously the Tigers’ biggest advantage in the series, while the Red Sox hold edges offensively and defensively.

One way for the Tigers to even those up would be to have Jackson starting getting on base in front of Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers were 43-24 when he reached base twice in a game this year, which is actually a better winning percentage than they had when Miggy homered (.642 to .625).

  1. weaselpuppy - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Infante to leadoff?

    • fusionix7 - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:00 AM

      I’d give Jackson game 1 considering how he hits against the Sox. If he keeps on being the strikeout machine we all thought he grew out of then I agree on Infante.

    • Minoring In Baseball - Oct 11, 2013 at 2:01 AM

      That is a very good option, and we’ll see what Leyland does. A-Jax really looked lost the whole series, and it won’t be easier against the BoSox. If he breaks out, though, have can be a game changer. He has speed and power to hit home runs.

  2. dhalb34 - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    They also have to get Hunter back too. He was quiet this series. Most importantly, Sanchez and Fister have to pick up the slack. Both guys were struggling with location and pitch counts in their starts.

    • bender4700 - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Base hit in the 4th, and seemed to figure out Gray in the first.

      Torii’s back already. :P

      • historiophiliac - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:40 AM

        Hardly. Torii needs to stop hacking at crap like he did most of this series. He was getting desperate and not hitting smart.

        A-Jax needs to snap out of it too. We need the two of them to get on base so that the heavy hitters can churn out the RBI’s. I think they are starting to turn it around. I’m not very worried at this point, but yeah, they need to get it together like tomorrow.

        I think Sanchez will have regrouped by Saturday. At least, I hope so. ;)

  3. bender4700 - Oct 11, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    Turning point for the Tigers Scherzer’s heroics. Now the offense is rolling again. Jackson was clutch when needed.

  4. cabrera24 - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Infante to lead off ? Seriously ? This guy is no better . Every at bat he’s not waiting for his pitches . You can’t put a guy that been in the bottom of the order the entire year then move him to the lead off spot . Impossible …. You guys need to watch more baseball . I rather let Kelly lead off before I put infante .

    • rpb123 - Oct 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      Infante is a very likely leadoff candidate, if not in the post season then next year (assuming the Tigers resign him). Leyland typically sticks a leadoff type player (high BA/OBP with speed) in the 9th slot. Infante was hitting well up until his 0-4 in game 5. More importantly he only has 2 Ks. That said, Don Kelly has similar attributes, assuming he can continue to get on base with more AB.

  5. cabrera24 - Oct 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    “Hardly. Torii needs to stop hacking at crap like he did most of this series. He was getting desperate and not hitting smart.”

    You couldn’t say it any better ⬆️

  6. coloradostupid - Oct 11, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Big psychological advantage Red Sox: handing Scherzer his 1st loss on 9/3.

    • rpb123 - Oct 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      His first loss was against Texas on 7/13. Max threw a quality start against the Red Sox on 9/3, I doubt that is going to ‘haunt’ him. Oakland beat him around pretty good on his previous start (6 runs, 5 earned in 5 IN) and that didn’t seem to phase him the least against the A’s in the ALDS.

  7. rpb123 - Oct 12, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    “The Tigers were 43-24 when he reached base twice in a game this year, which is actually a better winning percentage than they had when Miggy homered (.642 to .625)”

    You hit the nail on the head. The Tigers always hit better when their leadoff player is hot. This is true of Jackson and was true with Granderson before him. If Jackson can get on base then Boston will have their hands full with a strong Tiger offense to go with the red hot starting pitching. If he continues to be a K machine, then Boston has the edge and can win some close games by taking advantage of a weak Tiger offense. Boston fans should also put the 20 run game out of their minds. As Matthew points out that came against Porcello, who is unlikely to pitch in Fenway with Alverez in the pen and Coke the available LOOGY. They should also remember that Oakland beat Detroit like a piñata the week before the Boston series and that didn’t carry over into the post season.

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