By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Tigers slugger Prince Fielder continued to struggle Thursday night in Game 5 of the ALCS, and the fans in his home park voiced their displeasure, booing him after ground outs in the fifth and seventh innings.
The Boston Red Sox put the shift on Fielder, and he got just one hit in four at bats. Entering the game, Fielder’s batting average in this postseason was .242. Of his eight hits, only one had gone for extra bases, and he had no RBIs.
“I’m trying to hit the ball hard,” Fielder said after the game. “I can’t worry about the crowd because if they could do it, they would play, so I’m just trying to hit the ball hard.”
“It’s definitely not pleasant, but they’re fans. That’s what they do,” Fielder added. “They paid to come.”
Known as a power hitter and run producer, Fielder has largely failed to do either through the first 10 games of the playoffs. His lack of hitting has been a sore spot with fans, and he is trying to break out of the slump, but Fielder says with no GPS on the bat to tell the ball where to go, no magic wand to direct its path, all he can do is keep swinging.
“I want to hit home runs just as much as everybody else wants me to,” Fielder said. “I’m just trying to hit the ball hard.”
In January 2012, Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Tigers. Since then, the scrutiny has been on. Fielder is fine with it. He said he feels pressure to produce, but that is normal, not a result of booing, postseason play or his current hitting slump.
“It’s part of the deal,” Fielder said. “My kids are taken care of, my family’s taken care of, but this is all part of it.”