|Or is it just Jimbo?|
But Delmon Young is clearly pretty hurt. If you've missed it, Young had been held out of the lineup for the last two games with an oblique strain or twinge or pull or something. Something Obliquey. FOX just showed a video of Young fielding a ball that went to the LF gap (presumably from the last game that he played), where he got to the ball and (seemingly) considered flipping it to Austin Jackson as if they were a 2B-SS combo going for a double play. Ultimately, he decided that it would be better to just lob it a third of the way back to the infield. Commentators were saying that it was obvious that he wasn't 100% at the time, and he doesn't look much better tonight, from what I've seen so far.
Joe Buck just pointed out that to Detroit, it's worth the defensive liability to keep the bat in the lineup, which is oddly reminiscent of Vladimir Guerrero attempting to play RF last year in the World Series, only to look like a god damn buffoon out there and ultimately cost the Rangers a couple runs in game 3 (?). Vlad was actually a pretty good hitter, but without the DH rule in the NL park, there was a cost-benefit analysis that needed to be done by Ron Washington: Does keeping Vlad's bat in the lineup outweigh the risk of having him run around like a chicken with his head cut off in the outfield?*
Ultimately, no, it wasn't. So here is my question: if it wasn't worth it to have Vladdy in the field, why would it be worth it to have an injured Delmon Young out there? Vlad, in 2010 had a 119 wRC+, with a .300/.345/.496 slash, and was one of Texas' better hitters. Delmon Young, on the other hand, is injured, and has been below average all season. Even if you want to take in to account some kind of weird excuse to look at the sample size of his Detroit-only numbers, he's been perfectly average, with a 101 wRC+. If you want to use that small sample, he had a UZR of -5.5, which goes along correctly with his -54.7 UZR for his career over 6 seasons.
It's not like there's much better as an option for the Tigers, so I don't really know what I'm saying here-- I guess I kind of like Don Kelly? Andy Dirks maybe? I dunno. Young can't possibly be the right play in LF, and definitely can't be the right play as your 5th batter.
[sidenote- Jamie and Gregg just spoke about exactly what I'm currently writing about between innings... only for Delmon to make a running catch at the wall. Great.]
*- There's obviously something to be said about the fact that Vlad was playing RF that game, and not LF. Vlad should obviously never be in the outfield, but I'd definitely have him in left in that situation, even if it means putting Nelson Cruz in right. At least Nelly gets out there everyday.
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