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Game 4 lineup tweaks: Alex Avila out for Tigers, Ryan Theriot to DH for Giants

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP, Getty)

Because of lingering soreness in his right wrist, Alex Avila won't start at catcher Sunday night for the Detroit Tigers in Game 4 of the World Series. Instead, they'll use Gerald Laird like they did in Game 2. Laird will hit ninth. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the change.

On the Giants side, manager Bruce Bochy has decided to use Ryan Theriot at DH after Hector Sanchez went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in Game 3 on Saturday night. Theriot will bat eighth. He is 2 for 6 with a walk and three RBIs in the postseason. He hit .270/.316/.321 with with 16 doubles and 13 stolen bases in 352 at-bats during the regular season.

Here are the lineups in full. Giants pitchers are working on two straight shutouts and have a 3-0 lead in the Series. No one has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the Series to even reach a seventh game (the 2004 Red Sox beat the Yankees in the ALCS, remember). Twenty of the 23 times a Series has reached 3-0, a sweep has followed.

Avila took a foul ball off his wrist in Game 1 and 1 for 7 with a walk and two strikeouts in the Series. He's 6 for 29 with a home run and 12 strikeouts in the postseason — not up to his numbers during the regular season or, certainly, his breakout season of 2011. He might be available for defense, Leyland said, but is doubtful to bat.

Laird was much more effective against right-handed pitching (the Giants start righty Matt Cain), batting .382/.420/.408 in 82 plate appearances than he was against lefties. The Tigers need any kind of base runners, so if Laird can get on for Austin Jackson and the rest of the Tigers order, they would be in position to benefit.

Bochy, who also could have used Joaquin Arias or Aubrey Huff at DH, says he likes Theriot's ability to make contact. He struck out 47 times in 384 plate appearances, giving him the best strikeout rate on the team among frequent contributors. Right-hander Max Scherzer, the No. 2 man in the AL in strikeouts during the regular season, takes the hill for the Tigers.

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