Tigers Need Cold-Hitting Raburn, Inge To Produce
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DETROIT (AP) – The Detroit Tigers have no control over the weather, which has wiped out four of their home games in a 14-day span.
They can do something about their struggles at the plate.
At least, manager Jim Leyland hopes they can.
Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge, in particular, need to start hitting to keep their roles as regular players in the lineup.
“I don’t want to read that I’m upset at any of my players,” Leyland said Saturday before the Tigers’ game against the Red Sox was postponed. “But this is a fact: We need to hit better.
“I’m not down on guys like Raburn and Ingey, but we need to get them going,” Leyland added.
Raburn is hitting .087 in his last 16 games, dropping his average to .200 in a season the Tigers were counting on him to produce. Inge has hit .188 over his last 40 games, lowering his batting average to .205 after signing a $11.5 million, two-year contract with a club option for a third season.
“There’s no one that wants to play Brandon Inge more than Jim Leyland,” Leyland said. “I hear that he’s upset when he’s not in the lineup, and he should be. I’m upset when he’s not in the lineup. I have one of the best defensive third baseman I’ve seen in my 45 years in baseball.
“I want him in the lineup, but the players have to produce to stay in there,” he said.
The rained-out game will be made up as part of a day-night double-header Sunday.
The first game will begin at 1:05 p.m. with Andy Oliver making his first start for the Tigers against Clay Buchholz. The nightcap is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m., featuring aces Josh Beckett for the Red Sox and Justin Verlander for the Tigers.
Boston has won four straight, including two in Detroit, and 12 of its last 14 games. Detroit has dropped two straight and seven of 10.
The Tigers and Red Sox, who don’t have another trip scheduled to Detroit, wanted to play Saturday and didn’t have a chance.
Light rain began to fall about 10 minutes after the scheduled start and it quickly got heavier without much relief in sight on radar maps.
It was postponed after a delay of 1 hour, 25 minutes, wiping out the fourth game in Detroit due to rain over a 14-day span. The Tigers also had a game called in the eighth inning Thursday in a 14-1 loss against Boston.
“Maybe one of these we’ll play,” Tigers left-hander Phil Coke, who is on the disabled list, muttered as he walked out of Comerica Park on Saturday night.
Since at least 1990, the Tigers have not had four rainouts in 14 days at home, according to STATS, LLC.
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