Notes: Lofton in Game 2 lineup
Hot-hitting veteran does not sit vs. southpaw starter Pettitte
CLEVELAND -- Jason Michaels was in the Indians' lineup for Friday's Game 2 of the ALDS.That was to be expected. But Kenny Lofton was in the lineup, as well. That was a bit of a curveball thrown by manager Eric Wedge. Lofton and Michaels have been divvying up the left-field starts since Lofton's arrival from the Rangers just before the summer trading deadline, with Lofton starting against right-handers and Michaels against left-handers. But with Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte on the mound in Game 2, Wedge opted to keep the hot-hitting Lofton in the mix and move Michaels to right, bumping Franklin Gutierrez out of his starting spot. "That was something I decided to do [Thursday] night," Wedge said. "Jason Michaels was for sure. He's seen Pettitte a few times and had success. I like the way he hits left-handers and the energy he brings to the lineup." Michaels has gone 3-for-8 with a double, a walk, an RBI and a strikeout lifetime against Pettitte. So why give the start to Lofton, who is a mere 4-for-29 lifetime against Pettitte, and batting just .223 against lefties this season, over Gutierrez, who is 1-for-3 off Pettitte and .330 against lefties? It's called playing the hot hand. "The fact of the matter is a guy stepping up and having a night like [Lofton] did [Thursday] night deserves to be in," Wedge said. Lofton stepped up, all right. He had three hits and four RBIs in the 12-3 thumping of the Yanks. Gutierrez, in his first postseason game, went 0-for-2 with two walks, a run scored and an outstanding diving catch of a fly ball hit by Derek Jeter in the seventh inning. "Gutierrez deserves to be in there, too," Wedge admitted. "He had a fantastic night in right field for us. But Pettitte's had a little more success against right-handers this season with that cutter. And this allows us to break up our right-handers at the bottom of our lineup." Lofton batted in his usual seventh spot of the lineup Friday, while Michaels took over Gutierrez's No. 8 spot. Left-handers batted .298 off Pettitte this season, while right-handers hit .282. Worth a second look? The controversial leadoff homer Johnny Damon hit Thursday night brought up the undying topic of instant replay.
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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.