The Tigers have activated Victor Martinez from the 15-day DL today and he will reclaim his number five spot in the batting order tonight. The other change, which manager Jim Leyland discussed yesterday, is that Brennan Boesch has been moved up to third in the order and veteran Magglio Ordonez has been dropped to sixth.
This move should allow Boesch to see more pitches in the zone, and more importantly, take some of the pressure off the young hitter. Last season, Boesch struggled mightily in the second half when pitchers began walking Miguel Cabrera to get to Boesch. There has been a bit more of the same this season while Martinez was on the shelf. In his last 35 at bats, Boesch has collected just three hits.
With Martinez now backing Cabrera, Boesch should be able to relax a bit at the plate. When pitchers have pitched around Cabrera, it looked like Boesch was pressing a bit, trying to do too much with his at bats in an attempt to make the opposing team pay for working around Cabrera. The mindset should change now that he’ll be out of that spot. While I’m sure Boesch would still like to make a big impact with each trip to the plate, there has to be a comfort level in knowing that the league’s best hitter is looming behind him. If Boesch doesn’t get the job done, there’s a very good chance that Cabrera will.
Martinez, being the veteran hitter that he is, should be better equipped to handle the challenge of batting behind Cabrera. He has the patience to wait for his pitch and the experience needed to take advantage of these RBI situations without pressing.
The offense looked pretty good last night, even if they scored only four runs. The top of the order was on base all night, including Ordonez, who contributed two hits. If Scott Sizemore can put together good at bats, this lineup takes on a different look. Austin Jackson hit the ball well last night also, adding a double and a triple.
On win doesn’t change the season, but the move to bring up Sizemore paid dividends at least for one night. The Tigers must get runners on base in front of Cabrera and Martinez in order to walk down the Indians. Here’s hoping that last night was a harbinger of things to come.