As the Detroit Tigers gear up for their ALCS showdown with the defending league champs, the club got some bad news on the medical front. The injured oblique Delmon Young suffered in Game 5 against the Yankees is serious enough that he was left off the ALCS roster altogether.
For most teams, losing their regular No. 3 hitter when they’re already facing a superior offense would be the death knell for their chances at a pennant. The Tigers’s roster being what it is, though, they could be headed to the World Series even without Young.
First and foremost, of course, the Tigers boast the best pitcher in the A.L. in Justin Verlander. With the presumptive Cy Young winner getting to start Game 1 (and a potential Game 5 at home), the Tigers may not need to score many runs to get a pair of wins.
Then, too, Young is being replaced by Ryan Raburn, whose numbers on the season (.297 OBP, .432 SLG) are nearly identical to Young’s since being traded to Detroit (.298 OBP, .458 SLG). Both are right-handed hitters, so that’s a wash as well.
Lastly, neither Raburn nor Young is really the heart of a Detroit offense whose biggest production has come from the infield. First base Miguel Cabrera (.344 BA, 30 HR, 105 RBI) is the star, but designated hitter Victor Martinez (103 RBI) and catcher Alex Avila (.895 OPS) have both had big years as well.
Having Young would’ve helped, especially by leaving Raburn available for situational hitting. Young’s roster spot is going to infielder Danny Worth, whose OBP is a hair higher than Young’s or Raburn’s at .308 but who posted a dreadful .324 slugging percentage in 30 games this season.
Still, even without their starting left fielder, the Tigers have a good shot to capture their second pennant in six years.
Game 1: Detroit at Texas, 10/8, 8:05 P.M.
Game 2: Detroit at Texas, 10/9, 7:45 P.M.
Game 3: Texas at Detroit, 10/11, 8:05 P.M.
Game 4: Texas at Detroit, 10/12, 4:19 P.M.
Game 5 (if necessary): Texas at Detroit, 10/13, 4:19 P.M.
Game 6 (if necessary): Detroit at Texas, 10/15, 8:05 P.M.
Game 7 (if necessary): Detroit at Texas, 10/16, 8:05 P.M.