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MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Five storylines for Game 3 in Detroit

Ringolsby: Five storylines for Game 3 in Detroit

Five storylines for Game 3 in Detroit
The World Series moves to Comerica Park, home of the American League champion Detroit Tigers, for Game 3 on Saturday. That means the designated hitter will become a part of the lineup for both teams. It is among five storylines to watch in Game 3:

DH DILEMMA

The DH was initially added to the World Series in 1976 and was used in both parks in even-numbered years. Ten years later, baseball changed the rule to include the World Series every year, but only in AL parks.

Big deal? Not really. The AL plays with the DH year round, and the NL uses it only in some Spring Training games and the World Series games played in AL parks, but the DH has not given the AL a noticeable edge based off a comparison of world championships.

World Series

In World Series with a DH, the AL is 17-13 (.567). In World Series without the DH, the AL is 45-32 (.584).

National League designated hitters have hit a composite .250, with a .320 on-base percentage, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs. The AL DH has hit .232, with a .317 on-base percentage, 12 home runs and 50 RBIs.

In the 30 World Series featuring the DH, the NL's pitchers have hit .120 with 10 RBIs, and the AL pitchers have hit .070 with nine RBIs.

DH PART 2

The NL has had a DH hit .350 or better eight times and below .200 seven times (minimum of eight plate appearances). The AL has had the DH hit .350 or better seven times and 11 players hit below .200.

Lonnie Smith was a World Series DH a record four times -- with Philadelphia in 1980, St. Louis in '82, and Atlanta in '91 and '92. He also started seven games in left field with Kansas City in '85 when there was no DH. Smith was limited in his DH chores in 1982 as the right-handed hitting platoon to the left-handed hitting Dane Iorg.

Iorg hit .529 in the Cardinals' victory against Milwaukee, the highest ever for an NL DH.

Ryan Klesko had the second-highest average for an NL DH, hitting .500 in 1995. He also had an NL-best three home runs as a DH.

There have been 125 players used as a DH in the 30 World Series using that role. It appears San Francisco's Hector Sanchez and Detroit's Delmon Young will become Nos. 126 and 127 on Saturday night.

TOILING TIM

Tim Lincecum has become a key part of the San Francisco bullpen this postseason. While he did make one start in the NL Championship Series, and couldn't survive five innings, he has made four relief appearances, working 10 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out 14.

Lincecum is rested and ready for Game 3 in Detroit.

His 10 2/3 innings are eight shy of the postseason record for a reliever that was set by Tug McGraw with the Mets in 1973, and equaled by Francisco Rodriguez with the Angels in 2002. Rollie Fingers worked 18 1/3 innings with Oakland in 1973.

Lincecum's 14 strikeouts are tied for 23rd among relievers in a postseason.

His 0.84 ERA is tied for 30th all-time among relievers with at least 10 innings. Thirteen relievers have worked at least 10 innings without allowing a run.

Lincecum's one walk is tied for fifth among pitchers with at least 10 innings. The four pitchers without a postseason walk were Manuel Corpas (2007 Colorado, 10 1/3 innings), Jack Russell (1933 Washington Senators, 10 1/3 innings), Sparky Lyle (1977 New York Yankees, 14 innings), and Mariano Rivera (2003 Yankees, 16 innings).

BOTTOM DOWN

The bottom three spots of the batting orders aren't providing much help for either World Series team.

Will adding another bat with the DH instead of a pitcher help provide a lift?

In the first two games of the World Series, the Giants' 7-8-9 hitters are a combined 3-for-20, and Detroit's are hitless in 20 at-bats. But the bottom three spots have struggled all postseason. The 7-8-9 hitters in the Giants' batting order have hit .196 in the three rounds combined. Detroit's bottom three hitters have a .145 average in the postseason, and that's despite not having pitchers hit in the Division Series and ALCS.

LEFT OUT

Aubrey Huff is the lone pure left-handed hitter on the San Francisco bench. He, however, isn't expected to get the start at DH against Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez in Game 3. No surprise. Huff is 0-for-12 lifetime against the former Marlins righty. Sanchez has faced 10 of the hitters on the Giants' World Series roster.

The Giants might be a problem for Sanchez. His ERA was more than two runs higher against teams that finished .500 or better (4.97) than teams that finished below .500 (2.87).

Ryan Vogelsong, who will start for the Giants in Game 3, had a 3.26 ERA in starts against teams with .500 or better records, and a 3.48 mark against teams with losing records. He has had problems with Tigers second baseman Omar Infante, who is 7-for-11 in his career against Vogelsong.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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