Brandon Inge is already gone. Will Ryan Raburn be next?
That scenario is becoming more and more realistic by the day. Quintin Berry's quick start to his major-league career means that he might stay with the Tigers when Austin Jackson comes off the disabled list later this week. That means Jim Leyland isgoing to have to pick someone else to send to the minors.
For most fans, the first choice would be Raburn, who is hitting .146 and not playing well defensively at second base. During the last homestand, Raburn was drawing the same kind of boos that Inge got in his last days in Detroit, and he hasn't helped himselfon this roadtrip. He has only played three times, and is hitting .167 with six strikeouts in 12 at-bats.
On Memorial Day, Leyland tried moving him into the second spot in the batting order, saying he needed find a way to get him going. It failed miserably, as Raburn went 0-for-4 and took three called third strikes.
"He's not swinging the bat," Leyland said after the game. "He's taking pitches that he needs to hit."
Raburn isn't the only candidate to be let go when Jackson comes back. Don Kelly is hitting .164, and while he is praised for his versatility, everything he does can be done by other players on the roster.
The difference is that the Tigers can option Raburn to Toledo, while they might lose Kelly. Leyland might have also tipped his hand after a night of sleep.
"The leash is probably not very long right now," Leyland said of Raburn in a radio interview Tuesday morning.
If Raburn goes, Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth will share the second-base job, while Berry would take over Raburn's role as a late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield. There's no guarantee that Berry is ready to hit in the majors - he's a career.267 hitter in the minors with almost no power - but he's probably earned a longer look with his first week's performance.
Monday: No game.
Tuesday: INDIANS 5, Tigers 3. The Tigers get a three-run homer from Alex Avila in the second inning, and never score again. They leave 10 runners on base while Rick Porcello continues to struggle.
Wednesday: INDIANS 4, Tigers 2. The Tigers only score in one inning - the sixth - and leave 10 more runners on base. Doug Fister pitches well, but doesn't get any support.
Thursday: INDIANS 2, Tigers 1. The Tigers, obviously, only score once. The Tigers, less obviously, leave 10 runners on base for the third straight day. Justin Verlander's two-run complete game is wasted.
Friday: Tigers 10, TWINS 6. Detroit knocks six doubles as part of a season-high 16 hits.
Saturday: Tigers 6, TWINS 3. Carl Pavano gets knocked out of the box in the fifth inning, having allowed six runs on 10 hits, and the Tigers cruise to an easy victory.
Sunday: Tigers 4, TWINS 3. The Tigers finish off the sweep in dramatic fashion. Quintin Berry recovers from his own mistake to make a spectacular catch to save at least one eighth-inning run, and then scores on Miguel Cabrera's go-ahead homer in the ninth.
Monday: RED SOX 7, Tigers 4. The umpires badly miss a call in the second inning, giving the Red Sox an extra out. The Tigers come unglued and give three runs before getting out of the inning - the three that turn out to be the difference in the game.
Prince Fielder: Fielder hit .393 last week, and only struck out once. He didn't homer, but had three doubles and three walks, for an outstanding .952 OPS.
Quintin Berry: Berry made his major-league debut a memorable one, becoming the first Tiger since World War I to hit in his first six career games. He's batting .360 in place of Austin Jackson, and has stolen three bases without being caught.
Ryan Raburn: As already discussed, Raburn might be in his last week in a Detroit uniform for a while.
Don Kelly: Kelly is barely playing, and went 0-for-6 this week. With Berry, the Tigers don't need someone who can play the outfield, and Santiago and Worth can play third base and shortstop.
Tuesday: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. - Justin Verlander vs. Daniel Bard
Wednesday: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. - Drew Smyly vs. Jon Lester
Thursday: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. - Max Scherzer vs. Josh Beckett
Friday: Yankees at Tigers, 7:05 p.m.Saturday: Yankees at Tigers, 7:15 p.m.Sunday: Yankees at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.