By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The heart of the Detroit Tigers’ batting order is one of the best in baseball.
With the resurgence of Victor Martinez, it becomes monstrous.
Miguel Cabrera has 30 home runs, 94 RBI and a .363 batting average. Prince Fielder has 16 home runs and 69 RBI with a .267 average. Through most of the first half of the season, however, the normally reliable Martinez struggled, hitting just .228 with a .286 on-base percentage.
On the Tigers’ 11-game road trip, the longest of the season, something clicked.
Beginning with that long stretch away from home, Martinez has an average of .396 over the last 13 games. In those 13 games, he 21 hits.
He kept up the good work Thursday, extending his hit streak to 13 games and going 3-for-3 at the plate in his first three appearances. His on-base percentage over that time frame is .448.
“He was swinging the ball well all year, he was just hitting it right at guys,” Detroit starting pitcher Rick Porcello said. “Now he’s getting stuff to drop, coming up with big hits with runners on base. You can obviously see how our offense is going now. We’re putting up eight, nine, 10 runs a game now with just that one guy that’s turned things around.
“It really makes everything fall into place,” Porcello continued.
Martinez, who had a batting average of .300 or better in eight of his last nine seasons before missing 2012 with an ACL tear, is looking more like his old self.
“He looks alive,” teammate Torii Hunter said. “He looks stronger. His legs might be getting under him now. He’s starting to get his rhythm. When you miss a year of baseball, it takes a while to get a rhythm, and I can see that rhythm coming, and he’s consistent with it the last 10, 15 days.
“If he gets hot, we’re going to have a lot of fun,” Hunter added.