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.”

22 Comments

Got to agree with JL. I was pumped about getting Victor, but his impact has been instantaneous and I never dreamed he’d hit this well! If Maggs could get rolling, this team would be lethal at bat.

they have 3 hitters who are just on a roll right now…Victor, Jhonny, and Austin…all extended their hitting streaks today and the offense is showing it’s full potential. Can’t really expect much more than this…having one third of the starting lineup hitting for power (not even including Cabrera) is remarkable. Wonder if Leyland hesitates a bit to put a C next to Martinez’s name (due to injury risk) on lineup card when he is going this good.

The impressive thing about Victor is that he’s doing this while transitioning to full time DH. I thought if anyone could do it, he could. Very professional hitter who can mash from both sides of the plate. A cautionary tale may come from Sheffield, who also had a good first half as DH, then faded away. He did have that injury, but he was just a totally different kind of hitter than Martinez. Barring injury, I see no reason why Victor wouldn’t have success. The funny thing is, it will take managers 2 or 3 months to realize that pitching around Cabrera isn’t such a good idea. And of all the FA hitters who were on the market, Martinez has been the best one by far.

Remember Sheffield was injured after crashing into Polanco when JL allowed him to play in RF

Victor just came off the DL. I wonder if that would help Ordonez and Raburn. They have not looked good at all. OR maybe the Tigers should pay Martinez whatever they are paying Lloyd to be the hitting coach.
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By the way, woody, don’t forget to include Alex and Brennan on your list of hitters. Opposing pitchers have to consider each of them as a threat although I realize they will have their bad moments also.

I’m not sure what more Lloyd can do. He does work with the hitters and some of them have responded, Peralta for one. Sometimes it’s just a case of the messenger’s message being picked up. At any rate, he’s not going anywhere until JL does. From what Rod Allen said yesterday, they did get some hitting coach advice from Victor for free. Supposedly, he’s the one that suggested Avila use a heavier bat, and that seems to be working out well.
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Unfortunately, the only way for Ordonez and Raburn to get it going is to get ABs. They both need to hit down in the order, perhaps permanently. I like Boesch at #3 for his baserunning, and I never thought a year ago I’d be saying that. I was hoping Raburn’s defense would improve but he’s just as overly aggressive as ever. That was a nice re-creation of game 163 by Ryan yesterday afternoon.
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I don’t concern myself with Inge. He’s the #9 hitter and you get what you get. Having some punch at shortstop and secondbase allows you to do that. I don’t see Inge as an overriding problem. There’s plenty of other areas to improve upon.

Raburn has the 3rd most ABs on the team,so let’s give up on that excuse.

It’s not an excuse for Raburn, it’s just a fact. That’s why I started the sentence with “unfortunately.” He won’t hit sitting on the bench and he’s not hitting being in the lineup. A lot of people thought he would but it hasn’t happened.
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Funny how we pick on the things that are wrong even when things are going right overall.

Oh my gosh Rich, I said the exact same thing yesterday when Raburn, played that single into a double yesterday just like in that infamous game in 2009.

Unfortunately, Inge is not the defensive player he once was. He is a #9 hitter, yes. But he is also not nearly the defender of his reputation.

Re-build Bennett Park? Now THIS is a good idea. And everyone would be surprised to find homeplate where the rightfield corner was in Tiger Stadium.

http://www.dbusiness.com/DBusiness/May-June-2011/A-New-lsquoField-of-Dreams-rsquo-for-Detroit/

Well why we do seem to focus on things going wrong I do believe it is because we are simply being vigilant. In an atmosphere created by Jim Leyland we all know things can go seriously wrong very quickly. We are all hoping that some of the perpetually obvious problems get resolved so when the ‘bad times” creep in on the “good players” the results aren’t catasrophic.
LF is a problem, 3b is a problem, 2B is a problem (hopefully a waning one).
If some of these problems can be fixed the better for it.

I love these lyrics they play at the end of every Tigers Live edition after the games:

“There ain’t no way but the hard way. Get used to it.””
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Fortunately, our boys seem to be learning.

That is true, Dan. I’d throw in the bullpen too. I’m not entirely comfortable in that area. Good closer but everything else feels like a crap shoot from night to night. Well, this is part of the fun………I guess. And as of a few minutes ago, it’s the only game in town.
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Pup, I’m more in tuned with New Medicine’s game ending song that says “there’s nothing we can do about it.”

My thought for the season is to be prepared for a few weeks of excellent ball followed by a few weeks of not so good ball. Pretty much how the season has been so far and I am prepping myself for that so I can be seriously overjoyed if it is better than that.

Let’s take it to the Royals, I hope JV has a good game for his return home after his no hitter. We don’t expect another one quite yet, so I hope he doesn’t feel too much pressure, am sure he’ll be feeling some love when he takes the mound in the first inning.

We’ve got 15 out of 20 of our next games at home. Would be a great time to stay hot!

does anyone remember when phil coke said something like “the twins suck and we’re going to show them they suck”? Dang he was right – hahaha!
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On another note, we’ve got a helluva opportunity, to keep things going in the right direction, with this KC series.

Jim Leyland last week said he doesn’t believe in home field advantage in baseball. I think he may not even believe in himself saying he doesn’t believe in something. The dude is a regular comedian. He could go on stage with a one-man play. The title of the play would of course be “Old School.” Act I would be titled “Not Too High” and Act II would be called “Not Too Low.” Do I smell a Tony Award? If he can’t do it, we’ll have to get Sam Elliot.

Well JL might not believe in home field, but if you can win 6 out of 10 at home, and simply play .500 away, you can win 90 games which probably will take this division.

For those who say Inge’s defense is lacking this year, consider these 2 points:
1- in the past he’s been an exceptional defensive 3B. Any decline from there still makes him better than most at that position, in my opinion.
2- Inge makes an attempt at balls that most wouldn’t even try for. For example: I’ve seen him dive and knock down a ball headed down the line, get up and throw to first. Sometimes he gets the guy, sometimes he doesn’t, and sometimes he throws it away. I’ll take any of those results over a guy like A-Rod who I routinely see standing there watching a ball go down the line for a double. I’ve seen him do the same with bunts/slow rollers too. Picks up the ball without an attempted throw where Inge will barehand it and try to get the guy. Sorry, but I’ll take effort over not even trying any day.

Inge has lost a step but he’s still a good defensive 3rdbaseman. Not being a “wizard” anymore doesn’t necessarily equal being bad. I get as frustrated with his hitting approaches as anyone, but he is who we have, barring a trade. A trade will cost us prospects, pitching prospects. It’s my opinion that they’re trying to go straight from Inge to Castellanos in 2013. And again, we have bigger issues than 3rdbase. All this attention paid to a #9 hitter.

I know Inge is only hitting a bit over .200, but he has come through with a few clutch hits thus far ( a walkoff HR and a triple the other day are two that stand out in my mind). He’s no Mike Schmidt but if the other guys in the lineup that are supposed to be producing runs, i.e. Boesch, Cabrera, Martinez, and to this point Avila, do their jobs, then anything you get from Brandon is gravy. Sometimes numbers can lie. I’d rather have a guy that hits .220 and comes through in the clutch on occasion than one who hits .300 when it doesn’t count.

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