Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Prince Fielder's bat hasn't shown up yet.
The Detroit offense hasn’t been pretty in this series, and the worst part about it is that it’s wasting some pretty dominant pitching in the process.
Miguel Cabrera is playing injured, so I suppose we can give the best hitter on the planet a bit of a pass. But Austin Jackson and Prince Fielder? No passes for you two.
Jackson has been an absolute train wreck in this series, accumulating a grand total of one hit so far for a batting average of .077. His inability to get on base at the top of the order is killing the Tigers in this series, and if that doesn’t change, Fielder can’t help himself either.
Fielder hasn’t been nearly as bad as Jackson in this series, but the fact remains that he has yet to drive in a run throughout this entire postseason. That is unacceptable from your cleanup hitter, especially one as talented as Fielder.
In this game, Jim Leyland has decided to switch up the batting order, moving Jackson down to eighth in the lineup and moving everyone else up one, via George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. It’s a move that I strongly disagree with because it demonstrates a lack of faith in the men that got him to where he is now. At the same time, however, perhaps a change is all Jackson needs to get it going, as Leyland eluded to here:
I just wanted to refresh him a little bit, put him down a little lower in the lineup. Hopefully, it will relax him a little bit.
Hitting swoons are a part of baseball, and with Jake Peavy on the mound tonight, both men might finally break out. Both have had success in the past against Peavy—Austin a career .321 hitter, Fielder at .278—and despite his shiny name, Peavy hasn’t been anywhere near a lights-out pitcher this year.
Despite his nice 12-5 record, Peavy’s ERA was an un-ace-like 4.17 and he managed just 121 strikeouts. He can be hit, and he has been hit quite a bit.
With Jon Lester waiting to take the ball in Game 5, the Tigers must seize the opportunity tonight and attack Peavy early.