For want of a Gates Brown ...
... or a Smoky Burgess, or a Vic Davalillo, or a Matt Stairs, the Divisional Series was lost.
Which is of course putting too fine a point on it.
But let's be honest about this. The Tigers just lost two games by one run apiece, and in those games manager Brad Ausmus deployed three pinch-hitters: Rajai Davis, Eugenio Suarez, and Hernan Perez twice.
Davis isn't a terrible hitter. In fact, against left-handed pitchers -- and in Game 3, he pinch-hit against lefty Andrew Miller -- Davis sports a solid .304/.358/.446 career batting line. He can't really hit righties, which is why he didn't start Game 3. But he's a fine part-time player.
Suarez and Perez, though ... Look, you need backup infielders. But you're supposed to pinch-hit for the infielders who can't hit with guys who can hit, and then replace those guys with guys Suarez and Perez.
I suppose this isn't as simple as it seems. But it seems like if Andrew Romine and Eugenio Suarez are your shortstops, it's incumbent upon the general manager to find, somewhere, a professional hitter for the tight spots that do occasionally crop up. Say, like the ninth inning of a one-run game in October.