Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has already flexed his managerial might this season, out-maneuvering Yankees skipper Joe Girardi in a do-or-die Game 5.
But Leyland’s improvisational skills are about to be put to the test once again as the Tigers get set for Monday’s Game 2, which was rained out on Sunday.
On Saturday the Tigers lost rightfielder Magglio Ordoñez for the remainder of the postseason after he fractured his ankle in the 3-2 loss in Texas. Now Detroit is without another key right-handed bat — they already lost No. 3 hitter Delmon Young to an oblique strain — as they take on the Rangers’ lefty-heavy starting rotation.
(Update - 11:15 a.m. - The Tigers have reportedly placed Delmon Young back on their ALCS roster to fill the hole left by Ordoñez, but it’s uncertain when he’ll be able to return to the field.)
But don’t expect any woe-is-me whining from the grizzled Leyland.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to show how tough we are,” he said. “And we’re tough. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. I don’t want anybody feeling sorry for us. We’ll make do. We’ll come out ready to play.”
Making due will mean turning to Don Kelly, Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn — who had two hits and a walk in Game 1.
Young was hitting .316 with three home runs through five postseason games before injury his oblique in Game 5. His presence in the No. 3 spot provided protection for Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. Ordoñez was hitting .385 in the No. 6 spot.