Tigers try to salvage pride

Can Detroit get a Game 4 win and get Justin Verlander another start?

Originally Published: October 28, 2012
ESPN.com

Having been shut out in two straight games, the Detroit Tigers have their backs against the wall as they trail the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the World Series. If they can get a Game 4 win, Detroit will have its ace, Justin Verlander, in Game 5, so there is some reason to dream. Our experts discuss the Tigers' bleak situation in Sunday's Triple Play.

1. Who is the biggest goat of the series thus far?

Eric Karabell (@karabellespn), ESPN Insider: There are so many choices, really, from Justin Verlander (11.25 ERA) to Miguel Cabrera/Prince Fielder (combined 3-for-21) to Alex Rodriguez (isn't everything his fault?), but it's hard to blame any one person when the opposing team is simply not allowing runs, and guys such as Gregor Blanco are thriving. I'll give the negative nod to Jim Leyland, because he sure isn't helping much, but even the best manager would still be getting waxed in this series.

Doug Glanville (@dougglanville), Baseball Tonight: The Tigers' offense is more like a herd of goats. They've been one step behind every Giants move, and like the Yankees, they haven't made that timely adjustment to change pitching momentum. It's a historic struggle.

Christina Kahrl (@ChristinaKahrl), SweetSpot: If you have to single out just one guy, I'd go with Prince Fielder. He's been brutal every way you care to mention it. On offense, he's been an almost empty set of cleats, and his failure to score on Delmon Young's Game 2 double because of his ungainliness on the bases wasn't all Gene Lamont's fault.


2. Would you have considered starting Verlander in Game 4?

Karabell: Absolutely not. What has Max Scherzer done to be skipped in the rotation? He's about the only one not at fault. Plus, the Tigers need to win all the games now, from the Scherzer and Verlander outings to the next Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez starts. Bringing back a pitcher on short rest who struggled isn't the answer. Having Scherzer win and a rested Verlander thrive is.

Glanville: No, the Tigers are in a huge hole. They have to get big starts from everyone at this point. Two "maybe" wins by Verlander, especially on short rest, will only get the Tigers halfway there. The Tigers made the World Series because of Scherzer, too. He had a breakout season.

Kahrl: Only if he would agree to it, but practically speaking, no. It would be easy in hindsight to suggest the Tigers might have been better off employing Max Scherzer or Doug Fister in a long relief role a la The Freak, and slot Verlander for three starts in this series, but more fundamentally, no runs add up to no wins fairly fast.


3. If you were Jim Leyland, would you pull a Joe Girardi lineup overhaul for Game 4?

Karabell: Not a chance. Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly wouldn't be faring any better. I'd certainly find someone better than Quintin Berry, who has done nothing since June, to hit second (at least Omar Infante has seen Matt Cain before), but again, this isn't about one guy. No Tigers are hitting. It'll take more than one hot hitter to get the series back to the bay.

Glanville: No. I would, however, consider making smaller moves. How about shifting the guys who are hitting toward the top of the lineup, such as Delmon Young and Omar Infante? The Tigers need to find someone like Marco Scutaro, the MVP of the NLCS, and quickly.

Kahrl: Only insofar as I wouldn't be messing around with Quintin Berry in the 2-slot against right-handers. I mean, c'mon, the guy has had an OPS below .600 and an OBP of .285 since July 1. That's part of the problem, not part of the solution. Put Omar Infante back in the No. 2 spot and leave the rest of the lineup alone. Why make it easier for Matt Cain to make it three shutouts in a row?