Well, this should be fun.
Delmon Young won the ALCS MVP after batting .353 (6-for-17) with two home runs, a double and six RBI against the Yankees, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland won’t have the luxury of the DH spot during the World Series in National League parks. However, he’s prepared to sacrifice some defense in order to keep him in the lineup.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Leyland plans to play Young in left field in National League parks. Of course, the Cardinals or Giants will have home field advantage in the World Series since the National League won the All-Star Game back in July, so the Tigers could play as many as four games on the road.
We could see Young removed for a late-inning defensive replacement, but Leyland appears determined to roll with him as a regular. Andy Dirks has started in left field for all nine of the Tigers’ postseason games, but he could share playing time with Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry in right field in National League parks.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.