Game 49: The return of the Old Shoe

Is it time to stop saying Jhonny Peralta is off to a hot start? Because at this point, Jim Leyland is comparing him in the most reliable terms.

“He’s been an old shoe,” Leyland said. “Very comfortable for a manager. He has a routine he goes through every day, like clockwork. He’s really a good player.”

That “old shoe” term is how he used to describe Placido Polanco.

When Peralta hit .292 with a .743 OPS in April, it was the best opening month of his career. It defied his history of slow starts and struggles in cold weather. More importantly, it set him up for May, historically his strongest month.

With four days left in the month, though, he’s hitting .400 (32-for-80) with eight doubles, three home runs and 12 RBIs. He had better RBI production in May 2011, but in terms of pure hitting and reaching base, it’s the best single month of his career.

With his first four-hit game as a Tiger, he propelled himself into the mix among the best hitters in the league not named Miguel Cabrera. While Cabrera easily sits 36 points up on the AL batting average league at .377, Peralta is now tied for second with Baltimore’s Chris Davis at .341.

Peralta entered Monday 10th in the batting race at .326 and raised his average 15 points.

“A lot of guys are going to fly under the radar when you’ve got a Miguel Cabrera and a Prince Fielder,” Leyland said. “Guys are going to fly under the radar. But this guy’s a really good player.”

Does this mean he’s headed for the contract year of all contract years? Not necessarily. But if Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer, he has arguably has gotten beyond the point of a hot start.

“He’s swinging a magic wand right now,” teammate Torii Hunter told reporters. “He can poke the bat out and get a hit. He can swing hard and get a hit. It’s a lot of fun to play the game like that.”

His track record and his age strongly suggest he’s not this good for an entire season. However, he’s also not as bad as his stats suggested last year, either. He might well be good enough for his second All-Star selection in three years.

When one considers Derek Jeter is out and Elvis Andrus’ offensive numbers are a little down, Peralta might even be in position to make a case for the start.



High Babip:414 /100 point over his career avg. 325 in 2011. Unsustainable
As soon as the contract is with another team. The Tigers needs someone with range to cover Miguel until the the infielders are positioned where they belong

Kelly diving 2B. Second time in a week that Tigers OFs show that Jackson does the right thing non diving. And they were lucky, at CoPa , a diving could mean a 3B or a inside the park HR

Yes, Jhonny. Lost the weight and off to a torrid start. That .444 average against LHP sure is a vast improvement over the past few seasons. Could we say that having a LHP tossing some of the BP has helped Jhonny and others?? Keep up the good work. Ramon can give you a couple days off a month. Is that enough?? Good.

Do you think DD will offer him a contract extension before the end of the year? I am starting to think they will. Everyone complains about his range, and he is definately not flashy with the glove, but geez have you seen other SS this year? ANd I don’t think we have someone to take his place.

With Jhonny off to such a torrid start, he and his agent are in the driver’s seat and will be looking for a four year deal. Age 31, you can’t blame him. We could offer him that magic number for one year but why would he take it when he might get three times as much over four years. Loyalty keep him here?? Playing with Miguel and Victor?? Lots of time before the final stats are tallied. Ramon can back up Jhonny through August, then we need to see if Worth has improved enough at Toledo. Danny needs to get steady ABs.

I don’t think a 1 year contract would cut it for either Infante or Peralta.

Rondon: 10 saves. 12 SO/4 BB

Henning has Santiago released as soon as Worth is healthy. He could be right this time:143 BA and no defense.

Peralta is 12th in DRS: 2. Ryan(4) will be a FA and he is great with glove. Of course, he is Everett redux
Drew is doing great with the BoSox

Drew missed some time again this year due to back problems.He is about the same age as Peralta and is hitting .233 with 3 HRs, 20 RBIs and 16 runs scored. By comparison, Peralta has been healthy and is hitting .341 with 5 HRs, 24 RBIs and 25 runs scored.

Ryan is even worse than Drew with the stick. He is hitting .214 with 1 HR, 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored. In fact, the middle infield production for the Mariners has been so poor according to Bryan Rosa that rookie Nick Franklin was brought up today to play SS and 2B and Ackley was sent down.

Whoever replaces Santiago, if that even happened, would sit on the bench and rust just like Ramon has. Santiago used to show up at the park everyday ready to play because quite often he’d get into the game at some point. With a hot Peralta and Infante, that is no longer the case. Worth would be in the same boat, so I guess it depends on how they view Worth’s place on the team. Backup or future starter?

Peralta is on an extreme tear and everything is falling. That will even out. That said, he’s done a good job so far and has prepared for this season very well.

Yeah, Peralta’s babip is high this year. Last year, it was .275. As you said, things will even out. And as ElTigre indicated, about .325 should be his norm.

Great game for V-Mart, too. He now has hit in six of the last seven games. Inching up slowly. Just even with the Inge line and hitting .239 for May. He certainly isn’t pleased yet but much progress the last week. Keep it up Victor!!!! Still see him getting to 13 90 .285 for the season. Just please take a few of those day games after a night game off. How about if the Skipper lets you catch the night game before the day game off. Is that a fair trade??? Come on Skipper do some creative negotiating with your players!!

You lost me. Why would a DH need a day off?

Because he is thirty-four years old and may have a knee worse than the Mick’s.

management told polanco it was time to part ways – why would they not do the same with this ‘ole shoe’?

And just to be fair….I’ll provide the obvious reason: The org. could trade Miguel after the 2014 season for prospects. We all know what signing Prince and extending JV did to this club.Then move Jhonny to 3rd/DH. Vmart is gone after this year (clogs base paths, useless in NL parks with this management) don’t forget.

V-Mart does not become a free agent until 2015.

Peralta did not like playing 3B, so it would be the whole square peg/round hole issue. The whole reason we were able to get him from a division foe is that Asdrubal took over SS and Peralta was struggling at 3B.
Keep Miggy, best player in baseball.

V-Mart has a contract through next season.

my bad – you are right about VMart. [big sigh] so the DH position is occupado until 2015, huh? that’s OK with me, as long as he hits like a DH.

Omar is .017 over his career average BABIP, Hunter .029 over and Jhonny is .100 (as previously stated).
Dirks .029 under, alex is .094 under and .063 under for Vmart.

as far as who is fixing their stuff in AAA: ALBQ is not doing well, B Real looks to be coming around (slowly) and Rondon is looking pretty good.

Well, Peralta is not going to develop more range at short. He will need to adapt to 3rd base likely. He probably could handle 2nd for a year if need be. Thought that would be a more difficult transition for him I think.
Bringing Worth up does not make sense to me as he is marginally an improvement over Santiago. I don’t see Worth being valuable enough in a utility role and I don’t see him at all as a starter. They have Suarez and Hernan Perez just about ready for the show. I would be very surprised they not make the jump to Toledo soon to replace org guys like Diaz and Douglas, Russo or Nunez.
Our bench can be improved simply by bringing in a replacement for Ramon. Keeping Kelly is acceptable only because of his versatility, reliability and all out hustle.
As to the future? It seems that Miggy will best serve the situation as a 1st baseman. This leaves Prince to DH and if he balks, trade him (if you can). He is the most over-rated ball player on our team and is blocking development for infielders and outfielders in our system.
We are extremely fortunate that we are getting offenisve production from our middle infielders. This will not happen all year. They are actually picking up for VMart, Fielder and Avila. Those guys have to get going.

interesting – i just noticed prince has 2 homers, 0 triples and 7 doubles this month (may 1-27) so far.
He’s gotta pick it up.

to be fair in May his OBP is .385, BABIP is .017 under his career average and his OPS is .971 in “high leverage” situations.

I see no reason why we can’t expect our middle infield to keep producing, maybe not to the extent they are right now, but same goes for Miggy, do we expect he can keep up this caliber of play all season? Likely not but that isn’t set in stone. Look at Max, last year at this time folks were getting antsy about him. I love watching right now, we have guys getting hot covering for guys that are cold. We have our closer back doing deep knee-bend dances after his saves. I like to live in the moment and right now this is some fun baseball to watch.

don’t go the ballpark tonight looking for pleasant weather.

Mlive has 90% chances or rain. Is it true?

i’d give it a 90% chance of at least some rain at the ball park tonight, yes. It’s truly a crapshoot to whether hard rain hits the ballpark 0, 1 or 2 times tonight. If i had to guess, once. I’d bet on the rain episodes being short in duration (5-20 minutes long). I think we get this one in despite rain delays and/or the game being started a little late due to rain.


Jhonny is a good player to have on this team. You have all seen guys having great seasons, or career seasons. Prince will hit and will go on a tear. Overrated? Maybe, but he wants to play in Detroit and I also think he is good for the team. 2 months down, 4 to go. Unofficially the summer has began. No cable tv last weekend so we watched “trouble with the curve”. I really like Clint Eastwood. Reminded be of a SOC. Evan, where did you catch the Bass? Go Tigers!

on a little slice of heaven called Big Star Lake (can be seen here )

Tonight’s lineup: Dirks 7, Hunter 9, Cabrera 5, Fielder 3, Martinez DH, Peralta 6, Avila 2, Infante 4, Kelly 8. Porcello is pitching.

Be nice to see RP lower that ERA a tad.

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