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In Which I Eat a Healthy Amount of Crow Thanks to Alex Avila

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You see? This is why people shouldn’t make rash, sweeping statements after all of four games have been played.

Yesterday, I said that I agreed that Brennan Boesch should be in the lineup on a regular basis, but that the at bats he receives should taken from Alex Avila and not Ryan Raburn. So what did Avila do last night? Oh just collect a two-out, two-run double in his first at bat of the night, then smash a 400-foot two-run bomb in his second trip to the plate. For good measure, he added an RBI single in his fourth at bat and went ahead and completed his night with a stolen base, all the while catching a gem of a game from Justin Verlander.

Or to put it more accurately, as commenter Kicks said about an hour after the game ended:

"And the Avila smashes the ball in YO FACE. 5 RBIs."

Avila’s five runs batted in set a new career high and marked the first time since Pudge Rodriguez in 2007 that a Tigers catcher drove in that many runs in a game. Tigers manager Jim Leyland had said before the Tigers 7-3 victory last night that Victor Martinez would likely catch the series finale, but it certainly would be difficult to sit Avila after the game he had last night.

So to all the Avila-backers and to Alex himself, I extend a hearty apology. You were right (at least for one night), I was wrong. Avila made a mockery of my words with his fantastic evening in Baltimore. I am ashamed that I became the type of fan that I often despise; I called for a change in the lineup after only four games of play. Patience, I must remind myself. It’s a long season and you will have players that struggle in stretches.

Do I feel that this one great night for Avila means he’s due for a huge year? Not necessarily. But if you go back and read some of my pieces from the offseason, you’ll see that more than once I was calling for Avila to be much improved this season. That I allowed myself to hop off that train of thought after four measly games is unfortunate at best and a lesson I won’t soon forget.

Well, I probably will. This is a baseball blog afterall and what would we be without some occasional irrationality?

But the fact remains that the Tigers have one too many hitters that need at bats. Leyland will have to be creative to work Boesch and Raburn into the lineup often enough to keep them both on track, so look for Magglio Ordonez to see an extra day off or two, especially early in the year. As for Avila, here’s hoping that last night’s game was a sign of things to come for the Tigers and not merely a rare bright spot in an otherwise disappointing campaign.

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