Jim Leyland faced with lineup issue Wednesday against Gavin Floyd
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com September 12, 2012 12:24AM
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:49PM
Any victory is a good one to end a losing streak, but for the Tigers Tuesday, the 5-3 win over the White Sox was almost a necessity.
‘‘Everything in the dugout was uplifting,’’ starting pitcher Doug Fister (9-8) said of ending a four-game losing streak. ‘‘Guys on the bench were pulling for the guys in the game. Tonight was a good team camaraderie night.’’
It meant the Tigers are back within two games of the Sox in the AL Central race, indicative again of what the managers keep saying about the time left in the season.
‘‘It’s down to two again with quite a few games left,’’ manager Jim Leyland said. ‘‘After [Wednesday’s] game it will be one or three. This is September baseball at its best.
‘‘Any time you win a game, it’s huge, especially this time of the year, but momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher.’’
That will be Gavin Floyd instead of Francisco Liriano for the Sox and Max Scherzer for the Tigers.
‘‘Floyd has been tough on us and Scherzer has been great,’’ Leyland said.
Floyd’s return means a dilemma for Leyland’s lineup: How to use in Ryan Raburn and Brennan Boesch.
‘‘I’ve watched Raburn and he’s sluggish,’’ Leyland said. ‘‘I think the leg is still bothering him.’’
Raburn, hitting only .171 in 66 games, has hit Floyd in the past (12-for-37, .324, with three RBI), ‘‘but I won’t play him even though he’s hit Floyd, because I think he’s still sore,’’ Leyland said. ‘‘I might DH him because he hits in this park.’’
Raburn’s average in U.S. Cellular Field is .309 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 47 games.
Lefty Boesch also has hit well at the Cell (.286, four home runs, seven RBI in 20 games), but not against Floyd. ‘‘You’d like to play Boesch in this park, and he will play [Thursday against Chris Sale], but he’s 0-for-17 with six strikeouts against Floyd,’’ Leyland said.