Raburn gets a shot in opener against lefty

Raburn gets a shot in opener against lefty

Raburn gets a shot in opener against lefty
CHICAGO -- The number of times Tigers manager Jim Leyland has talked about trying to get Ryan Raburn going offensively is too high to count. But with 3 1/2 weeks left in the season and Leyland trying to find a way to ignite his lineup against left-handed pitchers, and Raburn returning to a place where he has hit in the past, he's giving it one more try.

With right-handed hitters batting slightly better off White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana, Leyland turned to Raburn on Monday night for the start in left, his second start in three days. He also moved him up to the second spot in the lineup for the first time since July 5.

Raburn went 0-for-3 batting sixth Saturday night, seeing eight total pitches from Angels lefty C.J. Wilson. However, Leyland cited Raburn's career numbers at U.S. Cellular Field as a big reason for giving him this shot.

"It's a common-sense matchup for me," Leyland said. "Raburn hits .308 in this park with eight home runs and 30 RBIs, so if he's ever going to get it going, this would be an opportunity."

The bulk of that production -- five home runs and 14 RBIs -- came in 2010 and 2011. Raburn entered the series opener 4-for-18 in Chicago this year with a home run, four RBIs, two walks and two strikeouts. Most of those at-bats came early in the season as the Tigers haven't been on the South Side since May.

The other reason Leyland cited specifically for batting Raburn second is that he wanted to keep the option open to pinch-hit for him with Andy Dirks if the White Sox throw a right-handed reliever at the top of the order.

Raburn went 1-for-3 with a walk during the Tigers' 6-1 loss. He also dropped a Dewayne Wise fly ball in left-center field for an error.

"Raburn called the ball and then really didn't get aggressive with it," Leyland said. "[Center fielder Austin Jackson] backed off because Ryan called it, but he didn't get aggressive with it, didn't get underneath it."