ALCS: Leyland defends putting Peralta back at short

ALCS: Leyland defends putting Peralta back at short
October 13, 2013, 6:45 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON -- After starting at shortstop in Game 1, Jose Iglesias wasn't in the Tigers starting lineup for Game 2 as manager Jim Leyland opted to go with Jhonny Peralta at shortstop and Don Kelly in left field. With Kelly in the lineup, the Tigers will have one additional left-handed hitter against Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz.

“Jhonny Peralta is no donkey,” Leyland said. “He's made the All‑Star team twice for me as a shortstop in the last few years. He's a very good shortstop. We're trying to get another bat in there, and we felt it would be the best way to do it. Like I said, this guy is a bona-fide major-league shortstop. This is not a utility guy you're playing there. This is a top-notch shortstop. He doesn't have the range Iglesias has, but this is a very, very good shortstop.

“I'm not going to answer why you do stuff. I do stuff because I think it gives us the best chance and I mean it. I'm not being smart about it. I try to make out the lineup that I think [gives us] the best shot [to win] . . . [It gets] another left‑handed bat in there with Buchholz [pitching for the Red Sox] . . . [and] we'll have a better left fielder defensively. So give up a little something, you get something else.

"And those combinations are why I made out the lineup I made out today.

* * * *

Torii Hunter was a first-round (20th overall) pick of the Twins in 1993. Now in his 17th major-league season, he has never been to a World Series. The closest he has come, so far, is in 2009 when the Angels lost to the Yankees in six games in the ALCS. Now, in his seventh postseason experience, the World Series is once again within his sights this season.

“It’s important for every major-league baseball player to get to the World Series,” said Hunter, the Tigers right fielder.

“But it’s vital that I get there. I see this all the time, guys jumping up and down on the field at the end of the season, during the World Series, at the end of the World Series, and I’m sitting on my couch having a Coors Light. And, you know, you’re sitting there and you’re seeing those guys. And you just kind of soak it in.

“That’s the way you want it to be. It’s my dream. And I’m going to keep fighting and keep trying to get there to my dream and watching those guys on the field celebrate. I just try to imagine myself doing that.”

* * * *

Here and there:

-- Miguel Cabrera has reached base safely in all 30 career postseason games with the Tigers, establishing a major league postseason record.

-- Anibal Sanchez’s 12 strikeouts over six hitless innings in Game 1 marked the most strikeouts by a pitcher before he allowed a hit in a postseason game in major-league history. The previous record belonged to Sandy Koufax, who struck out 10 Yankees before Elston Howard connected for the Yankees first hit, a two-out single in the fifth inning in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.

-- Tigers pitchers have recorded quality starts in five of six games in this postseason, posting a combined 2.35 ERA while holding opponents to a .173 average.