Reporting Greg Bowman
The only time you would expect to see the names “Brandon Inge” and “Lou Gehrig” in the same sentence would be something to the effect that both men played Major League Baseball. And both were in the American League. But Inge now has the unlikely distinction of being the first player to have at least four rbi’s in four games during a five-game stretch since Gehrig did it way back in 1931.
Of course, much of Inge’s newfound power came against his old team, the Tigers, including a grand slam homer and a three-run homer. And that followed another game winning walk-off grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays. How do you explain what’s happening to Inge, who was released by the Tigers after hitting .100 with one home run? You don’t. It really defies explanation. Even when Inge had his best seasons with the Tigers, he never hit like this. Some of it may be due to his desire to show the Tigers they made a big mistake by releasing him. Or maybe he can finally focus on hitting without any pressure or expectation from the fans or his teammates, or the boo-birds who must have made life miserable for him. In any case, it couldn’t be happening to a nicer guy. I just wish he was doing it against some other team.
Let’s not get too carried away. Inge is still hitting under .200. And he won’t finish the season with 30 home runs or 100 rbi’s. But he is creating a lot of excitement for a team that hasn’t had much to cheer about, or many fans to cheer on the A’s in a stadium that’s lucky to draw 11 thousand fans. And it shows once again that Billy Beane still has the magic touch. If you’ve seen the movie “Money Ball,” you know the A’s General Manager has always had a knack for picking up players that nobody else wanted and getting the most out of them.
The Tigers sure could use someone with a hot bat like Inge. They are still struggling to score runs, something I never imagined would be a problem in a lineup that featured Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Cabrera is knocking in runs, but without much power. And Fielder had a terrible weekend against the A’s, and has not been the Home Run machine Tiger fans were hoping for. Thank goodness for the Tigers strong starting pitching, especially Justin Verlander on Sunday, who held the A’s to just one run and two hits. The Tigers managed to push across three runs, enough to win. But they still haven’t won back-to-back games in a month, certainly not the sign of a team that everyone expected to run away with it this season. Fortunately, the Tigers play in the Central Division, so they’re only one game behind first place Cleveland. But they can’t keep putting guys like Ryan Rayburn and Danny Worth in the starting lineup, both with averages barely above .100, if they’re going to get hot.
The Tigers have series coming up against the Minnesota Twins, with the worst record in the baseball, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are not much better. The Tigers need to feast upon those weak teams to heat up those cold bats and put together a nice winning streak.