According to the latest “Inside the Tigers” by Fox Sports Detroit, the Detroit Tigers play of the year has already been made.
Anyone who loves the Detroit Tigers will certainly agree that this was one of the most memorable plays of the 2016 season, but is it enough to be named the Play of the Year?
The play in question was the home run hit by J.D. Martinez on August 3. This was the pinch-hit home run he hit against the Chicago White Sox.
The moment was singular. J.D. Martinez approached the plate after being out of the lineup for six weeks. As soon as he walked out of the dugout, the crowd at Comerica Park stood up and cheered. Chris Sale was pitching. He threw the first pitch, Martinez barreled it up and knocked it out of the park. It couldn’t have been any more perfect.
But, is it the best play of the season?
Memorable Moments on Offense
On July 17, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals. Michael Fulmer was pitching for the Tigers. Joaquim Soria was pitching for the Royals. Salty barreled up the ball with two outs with the game tied at two.
Two weeks later, Jose Iglesias gets into another walk-off situation. Of course, his bat does some of the work, but the majority was done with his feet. He ran his fastest to get to first base so Tyler Collins could cross home plate safely. His celebration after crossing the plate showcased his exuberance.
Defensive Darlings to Consider
One of my personal favorites was early in the season against the Houston Astros. On April 18, Kinsler had a bead on a popup from Tyler White. Instead of making the catch to get White out, he dropped it so he could get the speedy Colby Rasmus out instead. The play was so clever that the umpires actually had to discuss what to do with it.
The umpire could not call an infield fly because only one runner was on the bases. Check out how Ian Kinsler faked out the runners with a little bit of acting.
The other possible play of the year was a defensive play by J.D. Martinez. On August 8, 2016, the Tigers were close to losing a lead to the New York Mets. With two out in the top of the ninth and Jay Bruce in scoring position, Travis D’Arnoud hits to right field. Martinez fields the ball and throws a perfect one-hopper home where Saltalamacchia cleanly catches it and tags out Bruce at home.
Finally, it is impossible to ignore anything that Jose Iglesias does defensively. On June 15 against the White Sox, Iglesias fields a ball, flips it out of his glove behind his back directly to Ian Kinsler. They get the out at second and still have time to get the out at first after Kinsler throws to first.
What’s your favorite play of the year, so far?