5 Detroit Tigers Who Need to Step Up ASAP Before the World Series Is Lost
Saturday night's Game 3 at Comerica Park is clearly a must-win for them.
The magic formula calls for steady offense, defense and pitching, specifically from the following individuals.
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Obviously, the Detroit Tigers are depending on starter Anibal Sanchez to provide length and match zeros with San Francisco Giants counterpart Ryan Vogelsong.
Vogey is a legitimate Babe Ruth Award candidate considering his three excellent starts in this postseason (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 18 SO). Dating back to Sept. 21, he has allowed one earned run or fewer in six straight games. Further, he'll be pitching on regular rest.
Sanchez, meanwhile, last took the mound in Game 2 of the ALCS...on Oct. 14! Hopefully he managed to stay fresh and motivated during the long layoff.
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Miguel Cabrera's record-setting on-base streak spans the past two playoff runs.
But as we've seen so far in this series, working the count for walks isn't doing the Detroit Tigers much good. Rather, they need Miggy to attack the gaps and get himself into scoring position.
He ought to be alert at the hot corner, too.
San Francisco tied for sixth among MLB teams this season with 69 sacrifice hits. In Game 2, Gregor Blanco aimed one down the third-base line and was fortunate enough for it to remain fair.
The Tigers are counting on Cabrera to adjust and pounce on those balls.
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The first baseman's .205/.271/.273 slash line in 11 games these playoffs has been detrimental to the team.
There's reason to suspect a turnaround, however, as Prince Fielder enjoys hitting at spacious Comerica Park (.337/.438/.577 with 18 HR).
His struggles this October can be partially attributed to poor luck on balls in play—wholesale mechanical adjustments aren't necessary.
It's time for Fielder to earn his monstrous contract by intimidating from the clean-up spot as he did all summer.
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Quintin Berry gets to return to the starting lineup against a pair of San Francisco Giants right-handers.
The problem? He has never faced Ryan Vogelsong (Game 3) or Matt Cain (Game 4).
Generally, the platoon advantage bumps up his on-base percentage, and the Tigers want him to cause a disturbance. Berry, an efficient base stealer, must win the battle against Buster Posey's arm.
The rookie playing left field over Delmon Young is a sight for sore eyes. The Tigers will benefit from his superior range, but only if he avoids taking unnecessary risks.
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Even Game 1 mop-up duty overwhelmed slumping closer Jose Valverde. It's unlikely that Detroit can recover in this World Series unless he regains his form.
His recent demotion has shifted all the bullpen roles and forced manager Jim Leyland to devise new late-inning strategies.
The Tigers can make this matchup competitive with shutdown performances from Papa Grande.