But it could turn out to be a blunder.
Coming into this series to end the regular season, the Tigers have reinstated Peralta after he served his drug-related suspension. They badly want his bat in the playoff lineup, and for good reason. When the opposition is throwing its best pitchers, the hits aren’t going to come easily. Prince Fielder struggled in the World Series last year, as did his teammates. Miguel Cabrera‘s health issues have everyone guessing on what he could bat.
But the Tigers aren’t about to pull Jose Iglesias‘ glove out of the lineup at shortstop, which is Peralta’s best position.
It appears Peralta still has his hitting stroke, but Leyland will have to watch it closely in the playoffs. His fielding right now does not look good in left. He’s going to have problems chasing down flyballs in the gap, and the ability for him to use his arm is doubtful. Speeding baserunners who hit singles to left field against the Tigers may want to try stretching it to a double.
Peralta can still serve a purpose, but it may be better as a pinch hitter. Leyland doesn’t want a .300 hitter sitting on the bench, however. It’s not a good idea to have a shaky defensive player on the field during the playoffs unless he tears the cover off the ball every time he’s to the plate.
Leyland had better think twice about how he uses Peralta. Putting him in left field isn’t a good idea.