The Red Sox are hitting just .133 against the Tigers during the series and have been held without a hit the first time through the order during each of the first three games. They've struck out 43 times compared to 10 walks and 12 hits in 90 at-bats, yet the Red Sox nonetheless boast a 2-1 advantage in the series.
Current Red Sox hitters are batting .304 off Tigers starter Doug Fister, with 15 strikeouts and 11 walks in 102 career at-bats.
Mike Napoli has just three hits in the postseason, but his third was a big one, clearing the left-field wall on Tuesday night and leading the Red Sox to a 1-0 victory in Game 3. Napoli, hitting .143 with 10 strikeouts in 21 at-bats this postseason, returns to the lineup, batting fifth.
Making his second start of the series in left field is the switch-hitting Daniel Nava, who is 5-for-12 with three doubles off Fister. The move will allow Jonny Gomes to be available off the bench.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF 2. Shane Victorino, RF 3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B 4. David Ortiz, DH 5. Napoli, 1B 6. Nava, LF 7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C 8. Stephen Drew, SS 9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Tigers manager Jim Leyland called his lineup changes for Game 4 "huge."
Then, he followed up, "Really, I don't know if it's huge or not."
The changes are drastic. Torii Hunter is leading off for the first time since 2000, when he was a 24-year-old in his second Major League season. Miguel Cabrera will be hitting second for just the third time in his career and first time since 2004, when he was a 21-year-old in his second Major League season.
Each hitter behind them also moved up a spot, as Austin Jackson, who is hitting .091 with 18 strikeouts this postseason, was moved down to No. 8. Leyland said he went with Jackson over Don Kelly in center field because of Jackson's success against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy (9-for-28, two triples, one home run).
"You can say I'm nuts, you can say I'm dumb, you can say whatever you want," Leyland said. "It does give [the media] something to write about: 'Other than Jackson struck out 18 times, Leyland needs to do something.' So here it is, have a good time with it. We'll see how it plays out. And I will be willing to answer the questions after the game."
1. Hunter, RF 2. Cabrera, 3B 3. Prince Fielder, 1B 4. Victor Martinez, DH 5. Jhonny Peralta, LF 6. Alex Avila, C 7. Omar Infante, 2B 8. Jackson, CF 9. Jose Iglesias, SS