With Detroit down two games to one headed into Wednesday night's Game 4 Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to shake things up. He dropped leadoff man Austin Jackson to the bottom of the order, hit Torii Hunter first for the first time this season and slid triple crown winner Miguel Cabrerra into the two spot. The move paid off as Detroit erupted for seven runs and a 7-3 win to even up the ALCS 2-2.
While the move was not one done in panic, Leyland admitted it was time to "churn the butter" and shake things up in an effort to jump start his team.
Is it time for Boston manager John Farrell to do the same?
As Boston heads into a pivotal Game 5, the Red Sox are hitting .186 as a team. David Ortiz (.067), Stephen Drew (.077), Will Middlebrooks (.100), Shane Victorino (.125) and Dustin Pedroia (.215) are struggling.
Against the next three Tigers starters, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, the Red Sox are 6-for-69 with 35 strikeouts.
This butter may need churning, it's starting to turn.
Farrell is not going to sit Pedroia, Victorino or David Ortiz. Ortiz may have one hit in the series, but it was one big hit.
The logical choice to sit is shortstop Stephen Drew or third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Drew was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 4. He’s now 1-for-14 in the series. Middlebrooks was 0-for-2 with two K's, and is now 1-for-10 in the ALCS.
With Xander Bogaerts showing he's not overwhelmed by playoff baseball, it may be time to give the rookie a shot. Bogaerts, who at 21 became the youngest Red Sox player ever to collect a postseason hit with a ground rule double in the ninth inning last night, said he's ready to play, "You never know what can happen once you get an opportunity."
Following last night's loss Farrell said,
“Haven’t made a decision on [Thursday's] lineup. But given the way the left side of the infield, we’re struggling a little bit to get production out of that side. So it’s something that’s being considered, for sure.”
Farrell announced there will be changes tonight. Xander Bogaerts will be getting the start over Will Middlebrooks at third base and batting seventh.