Friday, June 17, 2011

Avila Playing Third Tonight

Jim Leyland has been hinting the last few days that he might try Alex Avila at third base during the upcoming inter-league matchups at Colorado and Los Angeles.  The official line-ups are in for tonight's game and Avila is indeed the third baseman:

Austin Jackson CF
Brennan Boesch LF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez C
Magglio Ordonez RF
Alex Avila 3B
Jhonny Peralta SS
Ryan Raburn 2B
Rick Porcello P

The other noticeable difference in the line-up is that everybody after lead-off hitter Austin Jackson has moved up a spot starting with Brennan Boesch in the second position.  Miguel Cabrera will be batting third which guarantees he will up in the first inning.  I like the new batting order and hope it continues beyond the next two series.  I see no reason for Brandon Inge, Donnie Kelly or Danny Worth to bat anything other than ninth. 

One thing that's not likely to last is Avila playing third base.  I think Leyland just wants to make sure that he keeps the bats of Avila and Martinez in the line-up even without the use of the designated hitter in National League parks. Inge is scheduled to return in a week or so and he will probably be the full-time third baseman again if healthy.

Is Avila at third a good idea?  An infield of Cabrera, Ryan Raburn, Jhonny Peralta and Avila is pretty risky with ground ball machine Rick Porcello on the mound.  On the other hand, Colorado is probably a good place to experiment with Avila at third, since there are not a lot of tight low-scoring games at Coors Field.  So, I think it's a good idea for this series, but maybe not for a more pitcher-oriented park. 


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