Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 11/8/14

If any eyes are still open at 10:05 EST and would like to watch baseball, they will have to tune in to Oakland where the Tigers will be starting a 4-game series with the A’s in tonight’s only MLB late game.

The Athletic Brandon Inge awaits the Tigers in Oakland, although they may not recognize him.  For one thing, he is wearing his pants all the way down to his white shoes.  For another, he seems to have figured out how a baseball bat works…so far, Brandon Inge has more RBI (9) in the month of May than Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young combined. Inge responded to being slotted 5th in the lineup with a walkoff grand slam;  with the RHP Scherzer on the mound he moves to the 6th spot for tonight.

Speaking of which, for all the the hand-wringing about the weakness of the bottom of the order boys for Detroit, the glaring weakness of the lineup has been the 5-6 spots.

Here are the BA/OBP/SLG/OPS numbers for the Tiger 5-6 hitters compared to league averages:

  • Tiger 5th (14th): .205 .274 .304 .578
  • League Avg:    .260 .329 .458 .787
  • Tiger 6th: (14th): .178 .267 .308 .575
  • League Avg:     .257 .318 .421 .739

Either is bad enough alone; together they spell Rallykill.  Where have you gone, Victor Martinez?

And it doesn’t help that the weak 5th-hitter numbers are mostly from the DH spot (more on that tomorrow).

 Sure, it doesn’t help that Cabrera in the midst of his 2nd slump of the season.  But even so his numbers stack up pretty well as a 3B and as a 3-hitter, if not against his numbers last season as a 1B and 4-hitter.

I was going to look at Scherzer’s last start, and the Reanimated Tiger-Cuddler Bartolo Colon (he last beat Detroit in 2003), but lately it doesn’t seem to matter how well the starters do–it’s all about scoring runs right now.

Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban phenom A’s RBI leader, is out with a strained hand muscle, but it is not fractured as originally thought so he may yet play this series.

Tonight’s Player of the Pre-game:  Ramon Santiago.  Rockin’ Ramon is 11-20 against Colon.  If he has a good game, maybe he could slide over to 2B and give Raburn a, um, rest.

Today’s Dirkiriffic Lineup:

  1. Austin Jackson CF
  2. Andy Dirks LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
  4. Prince Fielder 1B
  5. Delmon Young DH
  6. Alex Avila C
  7. Ryan Raburn 2B
  8. Brennan Boesch RF
  9. Ramon Santiago SS
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