Detroit • Toting his tiny aluminum bat, 5-year-old Gage Brookens wandered toward the cage and watched Austin Jackson, Omar Infante and a few other Tigers take batting practice on a chilly afternoon at Comerica Park.
Maybe that's what these slumping Detroit hitters need in this World Series. Metal bats, rather than their weak wood.
"Oh, I don't know if they'd allow that," kidded Gage's grandpop, Tigers first base coach Tom Brookens. "But the hitters definitely wouldn't mind."
Something better change for Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and the Tigers real soon or their year is going to end real shortly. They totaled only three runs and 10 hits in San Francisco while falling into a 2-0 deficit against the Giants.
Game 3 is Saturday night, with Anibal Sanchez starting for Detroit against Ryan Vogelsong.
The Tigers are hoping that a switch in scenery the ivy hanging on the center-field backdrop at Comerica has turned to autumn colors since the AL championship series and a flip in pitchers might help. Throttled by left-handed starters Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner at AT&T Park, the Tigers are eager to see a right-hander. Any right-hander, in fact: Detroit batted .275 against righties, .253 vs. lefties.
"Sometimes you can't explain it," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said before a workout Friday. "In our case, we've had trouble all year with left-handed pitching, which is strange because we have a lot of good hitters on the team."
"It'll be a nice change, obviously, to face a right-hander because we've had more success."
The Tigers will see Vogelsong, followed by fellow right-hander Matt Cain in Game 4.
"We've gone through spurts this whole season where we've thrown the ball like this as a staff," Vogelsong said. "We obviously had our downtime there in the middle of September and at the end of August."
"And we're just all kind of hitting our stride here at the same time. It's up to me and Matt now to keep it going over here in Detroit."
Tigers manager Jim Leyland plans to insert speedy rookie Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks in his outfield.
A few big hits would certainly energize the Tigers. So might a few breaks, they believe.
"The ball just hasn't rolled our way yet," Berry said. "They got a hit off the third-base bag. They had a bunt that wouldn't go foul. They made great catches in left field.
"But no excuses. We're back at home, this is our chance."
No mistaking that the series has shifted from California to Michigan.
In San Francisco, it was downright balmy in the 60s, and made for a pair of picture-perfect settings to play ball.
At Comerica, it was in the mid-40s and the lights were turned on while the Tigers worked out.
The forecast was for Game 3 was for temperatures to drop into the upper 30s in the later innings.
"We have got heaters in the dugout for both teams, obviously. Ours is going to be a little warmer than theirs, I think, tomorrow night," Leyland said. "But that's all right. We're not going to tell them that. I'm just kidding."
World Series schedule
P All games start at 6:07 p.m. and are on Ch. 13
Wednesday • San Francisco 8, Detroit 3
Thursday • San Francisco 2, Detroit 0
Saturday • San Francisco (Vogelsong 14-9) at Detroit (Sanchez 4-6)
Sunday • San Francisco (Cain 16-5) at Detroit (Scherzer 16-7)
x-Monday • San Francisco at Detroit
x-Wednesday, Oct. 31 • Detroit at San Francisco
x-Thursday, Nov. 1 • Detroit at San Francisco