Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez in an Epic Slump

Jul 15, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) watches from the dugout during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 15, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez (41) watches from the dugout during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers fans have been patiently watching Miguel Cabrera drop to his lowest batting average in nearly a decade, but they may not have been aware that Victor Martinez has quietly been doing exactly the same thing.

The men at the “Heart of the Lineup” are both slumping in epic fashion. And, they’re bringing the team down with them.

In today’s game against the Minnesota Twins, Cabrera did get on base, going two for four for the day. Martinez, on the other hand, had an “oh-fer” day, striking out once and leaving three men on base. Cabrera left one runner on base. They weren’t the only Tigers to do this, but they are the ones that shouldn’t be doing this.

Yesterday, I shared a few of the frighteningly “un-Miggy-like” statistics that are currently plaguing the Best Hitter in Baseball. Sadly, V-Mart’s stats aren’t much better. While Miggy is 0-10 with bases loaded, Victor goes one higher. He’s actually 0-11 in bases-loaded situations. I’m no math whiz, but I’m thinking that is at least 44 potential runs that did not score.

I wonder how many games could have been won if they just hit for average in bases-loaded situations?

Aug 16, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (right) and designated hitter Victor Martinez against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 16, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (right) and designated hitter Victor Martinez against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

July has been rough on the popular Tiger’s numbers. Victor began the month with a robust slash of .324/.369/.543 with an OPS of .912. His numbers in July have been abysmal. His July slash is currently: .161/.217/.339 and his OPS is .556. Keep in mind he is the number four hitter – Mr. Clean-Up. The guy the team relies on to score runs. His only job is to hit the ball.

I repeat: His only job is to hit the ball.

In July, Martinez has hit the ball and reached base a total of nine times. The number is so small that I actually have to type out the word. He has three home runs – two were hit on July 1. He has one double and he has been walked four times.

For comparison purposes, in the first 15 games of June, Martinez had significantly different numbers. His slash from June 1 through June 18 was .294/.357/.569 with an OPS of .926. He had 15 hits and 4 home runs.

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During the six-game home stand that ended today against the Twins, the Tigers had five good pitching starts. But, without the third and fourth batters leading the team, the Tigers were only able to score a total of 16 runs with 12 of those against the Kansas City Royals. The only win the Tigers got against the bottom-dwelling Twins was a 1-0 win on Monday. Without the bats of Cabrera and Martinez, the runs scored will continue to disappoint.

The 2016 contracts of Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez equal a whopper of a dollar amount: $46 million. Martinez is signed with the Tigers through 2019. Cabrera is signed through 2023 with options through 2025. These men are occupying a serious amount of money and time with the Tigers.

All baseball players go through slumps and most of them recover. Cabrera and Martinez have both fallen into slumps prior to July 2016. They have both recovered. Unfortunately, both of these men are on the wrong side of 30 and neither look to be in peak physical condition. It is difficult to be certain that there will be a recovery.

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Hopefully, they will both get back to their “normal” levels of hitting and scoring. Fans and critics keeps saying they both will. But, what if they don’t? It seems like blasphemy to ask that question, but it also seems necessary.