May 11th, 2011

Victor Martinez: “He’s locked in”

The quote in the headline came from Jim Leyland, who doesn’t normally gush about veteran hitters. He could’ve said he’s performing to his track record, and he probably was on his way to. But the type of hits Martinez has been getting lately, centering almost everything he swings at, defy that.

“Believe me, I didn’t think he’d hit like he has the last three days,” Leyland said. “I knew he’d hit, but I mean, that’s uncanny the way he’s centered the ball the last three or four days.”

The numbers are similar:

  • His three straight games with three or more RBIs matches the longest streak by a Tiger since 1919, the earliest records go back. Several others share in the mark, but nobody had done it since Dan Gladden from August 10-12, 1993.
  • His 11-game hitting streak encompasses a 20-for-40 tear.
  • His seven RBIs in this two-game series pushed his season total to 22, one behind Alex Avila for the most by a Tiger not named Cabrera.

Jhonny Peralta has seen this before.

“He’s like that,” Peralta said of Martinez. “Victor is a kind of player like that. He can start like really bad, but when he starts to hit the ball, you’re going to see him hit three or four hits every day. Right now, he is the player that I know. He’s hitting really good.”

This is also the player that Miguel Cabrera helped recruit to Detroit.

“I think that’s him,” Cabrera said. “He’s a great hitter. He’s going to help us a lot to win games like this. I’m not surprised.”

Whether or not Martinez is surprised, he isn’t saying. He’s saying his lucky.

“I don’t know, man. Like I always say, it’s better to be lucky than good,” Martinez said. “Right now, I’m just making sure that I go out there and put good at-bats together and put a good swing on the ball. And like I say, when you put a good swing on the ball, anything can happen.”

Wednesday: Tigers at Twins

It’s an overcast morning in the Twin Cities, but as of an hour before gametime, the rain is holding off. It doesn’t sound like that’ll be the case all day, with scattered showers and thunderstorms expected this afternoon. In fact, the radar shows rain literally surrounding the area, with a hole right over Minneapolis.

Jim Leyland said last night he wanted to check on Miguel Cabrera, who has played every game this season and has been dealing with a sore back (insert puns about carrying weight of offense here). He checked again this morning, and Cabrera said he feels fine and wants to play. Thus, he’s back in the cleanup spot and playing first base today.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Scott Sizemore, 2B
  3. Brennan Boesch, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Ryan Raburn, LF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Ramon Santiago, SS
  9. Brandon Inge, 3B
P: Phil Coke
.
TWINS
  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Luke Hughes, 2B
  3. Jason Kubel, DH
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Danny Valencia, 3B
  6. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  7. Rene Tosoni, LF
  8. Rene Rivera, C
  9. Matt Tolbert, SS
P: Scott Baker
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