The Tigers opened their biggest series of the year so far with a 7-4 win over the White Sox tonight. The unlikely hero was designated hitter Delmon Young whose three-run double up the left center field gap broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh. The win moved Detroit within two games of first place Chicago who they play two more times this weekend.
Young has received a lot of criticism from Tigers fans this year and deservedly so. Through the first four months of the season, he batted .263/.295/.395 which is hardly the kind of line you want to see from your designated hitter and fifth batter in the line-up. In August, however, he heated up batting .312/.350/.521 for the month and today he got one of the biggest hits of the year in the biggest game of the year.
Young has a history of hitting in the second half. batting for a .776 OPS for his career. That's not great for a defensively challenged outfielder, but it's better than his .715 first-half OPS. Tigers fans remember last year when he came to the team with a .662 OPS for the Twins. He proceeded to hit for a .756 OPS for the Tigers and added five home runs in the playoffs. That helped him get another year with the Tigers. It didn't turn out to be a smart move by general manager Dave Dombrowski, but if Young can continue to help them down the stretch, it will look better.
Bad ankles did not prevent Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera from hitting his 33rd home run plus a double and he hustled to third following a fly ball. However, he was unable to move around adequately in the field at third base and really should be designated hitting until he gets better. The problem is that would move Young to the outfield which does not help them defensively. We will see what they do tomorrow.
Doug Fister was not at all sharp tonight walking four batters and hitting two in five innings of work. He didn't seem to be moving around well and one has to wonder whether his groin injury is fully healed. I'm expecting, they'll announce later that he didn't feel quite right today.