Victor Martinez: “I have no excuses”

Spring Training wasn’t really that long ago, was it?

That’s when Victor Martinez seemed like he hadn’t missed a beat, let alone a season. His timing at the plate appeared fine back then, though he dipped into a slump in the final week of camp. Even when he wasn’t getting hits, he was making solid contact. He ended up batting .253 (19-for-75). The one thing missing was power (three doubles and one home run out of 19 hits), but that wasn’t a particular worry given the time he had missed.

After 66 at-bats over the first three weeks of the regular season, Martinez is batting .167 (11-for-66) .182 (12-for-66 after his hard-hit grounder that hit off M’s shortstop Brendan Ryan Wednesday was changed from an E6 to a single). His one extra-base hit was a double in his three-hit game at Seattle. After making consistent contact all month, he struck out five times in the three-game series against the Angels.

He does not, however, want to hear about a lost season and trying to get his timing back.

“I have no excuses,” Martinez said.

That said, Martinez feels like he has been swinging the bat better than the results would suggest.

“I can’t really control what happens after I hit the ball,” Martinez said. “I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball good.”

He definitely had some well-hit outs on the opening homestand, flying out to the warning track in the home opener and getting robbed of a hit on a line drive to Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner the next day. After going hitless the day after that, he cut open his thumb on the bat rack. He also flew out twice to the left-field warning track in Seattle on Wednesday.

His at-bat with the bases loaded in the ninth inning Sunday suggests he’s still putting good at-bats together. He fouled back three fastballs and worked into a 2-2 count after falling into an 0-2 hole. He couldn’t center one of them to send back up the middle, instead flying out to left.

It’s early, but so far, Martinez is seeing a higher percentage of fastballs than he has in the past, about nine percent over 2011 according to fangraphs. Some of that could simply be a product of the pitchers he’s facing or the early-season cold weather that prompts some pitchers to go to the fastball and try to jam hitters, but some could also be a part of the strategy against him early on.

Make no mistake, the Tigers are going to give Martinez every opportunity to get his timing back this season. Whether he hits for power is almost irrelevant; remember, he drove in 103 runs two years ago with just 12 home runs but 40 doubles. Remember, too, that it doesn’t take much run production to provide an upgrade over what Detroit received from the DH spot last season. Still, a productive Martinez is better than the vast majority of designated hitters in the league, which is all the more reason to give him time to get there.

48 Comments

Just from my recollection”…..it seemed like the first few weeks he wasn’t having much puck luck (yes a hockey term) but lately??? Although in all fairness there are a lot of tigers hitters who look pretty lame!

Speaking of relievers. Read a report that Valverde hit 96. Could this be legit?

I hope so! But hows the splitter?

yep hows the splitter? where is that report?

I’ve been told 95. I have not heard 96.

I’m sure you have a handlie as to what is legit, but Crickland wrote, “Valverde was noticeably proud of his velocity, smiling while mentioning the number 96 several times throughout the post-game interview.”

that’s pretty funny

In April of 2011, Victor Martinez hit .250. He is not a strong spring hitter. Right now he owes us six hits to get his average up to .250. We have eight games to play yet in April so what he needs is one multi-hit game followed quickly by another and still another and that will get him headed in the right direction. He knows what he needs to do. He has ten walks and that is really too many for him. Are they pitching around him some??. Trying to get him out with balls out of the K zone?? Back to that .250 in April 2011. You realize that he finished the season hitting .330. It seems as though he hit over .350 in August and September that season. You have to trust your proven players. The problem with V-Mart is that he never wants to sit out a game. We sure want him for the long haul.

V-Mart’s mechanics look off to me. especially as a RHB. His topside seems to drift forward, leaving him off balance

Now, only 5 .:”Victor Martinez grounder that bounced off Brendan Ryan and into LCF on Wednesday has been changed from an E6 to a single, #Tigers announce.” Beck twitted

this is the 2nd time someone has been hurt in the pen, but haven’t been sent to AAA – instead we had to pitch a man down! It def. burnt us yesterday – i sure help it doesn’t burn us this week.

oops i ment dL instead

The report on VV was written by James Chipman, a “Lakeland Correspondent,” apparently for FoxSports on MSN. I obtained it from a link on YardBarker entitled VV Brings Heat in 2nd LFT Appearance. I do not recall any mention of the splitter.

thanks!

Why not drop Victor down in the order until he gets squared away? He is killing too many rallies with RISP.

who do you bat 5th, sir? who has a hot bat outside of 1-4?

If any of you read the link to the collapse-proof comment above, notice what it says about the Angels who just swept the Tigers. Makes the Tigers sound even worse.

Even a slumping Victor Martinez causes opposing managers to think twice about pitching around Prince Fielder. Scioscia always plays the current numbers and it worked for him this time, but not all managers operate that way.
The Detroit offense is chronically overrated due to the lack of homers and other bases clearing hits. The Tigers main strength is the starting rotation, but that’s not the popular notion out there.

I don’t know if the Athletics had priority over us, but either way Casper Wells is your newest Oakland baseball player.

No, they dont. They were over the Tigers last year and are over them again.

Hopefully just frustration getting the better of Victor towards the end of a draining road trip. Don’t forget the Tigs have had a 6-12 opening stretch with 9 games home to balance it out.
Strange not using the opportunity to put Dotel on the DL and hopefully then regain some form at Toledo.

Looking at the AL Central standings with KC up 3 games on the Tigers just galls me given the 3 BS by our pen.

wait i thought it was 1.5 games up on the tigs? we have games in hand. Not that i don’t agree with you.

You are right. My bad. I was focused on the 3 more wins than losses by KC. Sorry.

KC bullpen has blown two saves and lost another game that was tied when they took over. So they haven’t been spectacular there, either. They have lost four 1 run games already.

“No excuses, I can’t really control what happens after I hit the ball.” Victor Martinez.
OK, no excuses. No one can control what happens after they hit the ball except if they try to hit it in the gap, or a double, or even a lousy single.

Derrick, there is no comparison. The Tigers pen has been dismal. It is 1-4 with a 4.53 ERA and 3 for 6 in save opportunities. By comparison, KC is 3-3 with a 3.35 ERA and 8 saves in 10 opportunities.

Poorly stated, but I’m sure you get the idea. Thanx for the input.

My point is just that if you are galled because we blew 3 saves and trail the Royals in the standings, you can’t ignore the 2 blown saves by the Royals or the other game where their bullpen cost them the win. They could be saying the same thing…that it galls them to be up only 1.5 games when their bullpen has blown 2 saves and lost a third game.

Mind you, that was just to try and put things in perspective…I agree with you that it is frustrating watching the bullpen this year. But, don’t fret, Valverde K’d 3 tonight in Lakeland!

well if he keeps his weight down – he can probably get paid in the NL. Should have thought about that BEFORE signing him. What an idiot.

Yeah, that’s an odd one. Don’t know how Delmon’s negatives keep flying under the radar.

Before the Tigers embarked on the west coast trip, I said they’d return at .500. I guess there are no surprises.

Richard, I like all your comments. What do you think of Leyland? Should Dirks bat 2nd and Hunter bat 5th? We know Martinez will come around but until…. Like I said, the winning streak starts at 7:08 tomorrow! Go Tigers!

Thank you for the compliment. I tend to get battered by commenters so I’m a little reluctant to respond off the cuff. Although I think your ideas are salient and worthy of comment, I feel regular commenters like DOK, slowbyrne, Evan, GK, Rich, Kathy, Greg, ElTigre, Bob, Woody, Mayo, et al would give you a better starter conversation point than anything I can do.

well batting dirks 2nd and hunter 5th makes sense against in a R-L-R-L-R sense and I feel like ‘right now’ hunter is finding gaps much better than vmart, you could even bat vmart 6th. Think you’re onto something, actually. It has been noted he starts off slow….

hunter does have name rec. – – opposing managers aren’t unaware of him – – he’s been strokin it the past year or so, etc.

Evan, do you sleep? You have a job.

you betcha, about 5 hours a day. I also have a 2 y.o. and bad fishing addiction to take care of too.

I wouldn’t change the lineup. These guys just have to get timely hits. It’s pretty simple.

but the grass on the other side of the lineup looks so green!

Is Austin Jackson a premier ball player?
You bet your a$$. When he is going good so are the Tigers.
Period.
He has had times where he is difficult to get out. And times where he can’t get on..
When he figures this out he will be one of the best.

agreed, he is well on his way at this point, he continues to impress me. The only issue I see is when he has new guys next to him in the field (2E) and has miscommunications, but that is just getting used to new guys and making sure the new guys are aware he is the chief out there. We have a great leadoff guy plus he is starting to run more which is even better.

We are back home!!! First of all, did we get Ramon out of the hospital?? Good. No man left behind!! Are we ready to rumble with the Royals?? We better be. Just for fun let’s look at some potential positives. No guarantees in baseball but these may help us out. Our team batting average at home is .349!! Better yet we have Scherzer, Verlander, and Sanchez lined up on the bump for the rumble. The Royals are countering our three with three RH starters of their own (Davis, Shields, Mendoza). No Bruce Chen!!!!!! At least to start against us. Now we all know that Alex, Andy, and V-Mart are struggling. But despite their sub .200 averages Alex has been much better at home (.286), Andy amazingly has hit .400 at NIGHT, and likewise V-Mart is hitting .333 under the lights this season. And yes we are scheduled for two night games right now!!! At home!! Go Tigers!!!

Analysis of our off-season moves. Are we glad Torii wanted to play in Detroit?? Yes, we are. Good move to sign Anibal?? So far looking good. Also, good that he is not a Royal!! Pena?? Well, how about that play at the plate after his rbi ground out in Seattle in the 14th inning!! Remember Ramon Cabrera for Andy Oliver?? Ramon is on fire at Erie. He’s hitting .400 (65 ABs) in 17 games of action. All their games although he may have been the DH in a few games. Alex better get that bat going. Lobstein? He grades out somewhere between Adam Wilk and Andy Oliver. And he is a couple years younger than them so he gets two years to work on improving his pitching.
We hired a base stealing coach to work with AJ and Andy on their technique. Well, that has been working just fine. Good results. 7 for 7. How about that LH batting practice pitcher?? Remember Prince was glad to see him. Well, Prince is hitting .455 against lefties so far and that is probably a little larger sample than what you might think. Another player wacking those lefties is JHONNY PERALTA (.467)!!!!
Only eighteen games but it sure looks good so far.

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