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Detroit Tigers’ Victor Martinez Keeps on Rolling


July 12, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) receives congratulations from batting coach Lloyd McClendon (8) after scoring in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With a 1-3 night that included a double and a walk, Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to 14 games — that’s every game in July and the last two in June. Over the streak he’s raised his OPS from .615 to .695 in 62 plate appearances while hitting for a Cabrerean .446/.500/.607 slash line.

Martinez’s numbers on the season aren’t great — his OPS is still below .700 — but he’s been as advertised for the last two months or so. I wrote about this similarly last week, but I thought his extended streak deserves further highlighting.

Martinez has now played in 92 games, and splitting those right down the middle shows the stark difference in his hitting between his early season struggles and recent success.

The early-season BABIP stands out and signifies that a part of his struggles may have been bad fortune, but despite the depth of his slump after 46 games, he’s basically nailed his career line in the 46 games since then (minus just three points of average, six points of OBP, and 12 points of SLG).

We have no way of knowing how Victor will hit from here on out this season, but this serves as anecdote of how even 200 plate appearances (in this case early-season plate appearances) aren’t very predictive, especially when compared to a career line of an established player.

There was a fair amount of public outcry for Jim Leyland to remove Martinez from the fifth spot in the order — it was cited as an example of him being “loyal to a fault” — but he stuck with the guy with a proven bat and showed the fans that he’s smarter than they think.

It’s easy to make a snap reaction and blame the manager when things go wrong, but, if we do that, we must also credit him when he does something right. And sticking with Martinez through the thin times appears to have been the right thing.