Detroit Tigers Javier Báez was the real winner in Chicago.
The Detroit Tigers completed a series sweep in their three-game set against the Chicago White Sox this weekend. The Tigers may not be pushing for a playoff spot or getting themselves into the playoff picture, but it’s nice to see the team grind out a few wins.
The Detroit Tigers were the weekend winner, but I’d say Javier Báez was the real winner of the series. Even though he was 0-for-5 on Sunday, the series’ first two games were big for Báez, as he was 4-for-10 in Friday and Saturday’s games.
While I have been a Báez critic this year, he did have a nice moment to “quiet the haters” after a home run on Saturday. He took his time around the bases, gesturing to the fans and doing a talking hand gesture as he crossed home plate.
Here’s a clip of the whole thing.
Báez has not had the easiest road playing in Chicago this year. He’s gotten waves and waves of boos. Tons of screaming and jawing from White Sox fans. While he did swing at a slider that bounced at about 56 feet, way in front of the plate, while playing Chicago, he has turned on the performance.
Detroit Tigers Javier Báez’s big weekend in Chicago is helping him finish 2022 strong.
When the Tigers signed Báez this offseason, I had my reservations about him and still do. However, as Co-Expert Matthew Scheidel recently wrote about how Báez he’s been able to piece together a strong end to a disappointing season.
He’s turned on the burners and been solid in his performance in September. Since Matthew’s article linked above, he’s continued to swing it well. Báez had produced a .354/.378/.595 with three doubles, two triples, and two home runs for 14 RBI in the month of September.
It’s been a better month for Báez, who has been doing much better. Though, in September to this point, he has been punched out 23 times over 82 plate appearances. That’s a 28% K rate during September, so they are still an issue.
But, looking at the positives, Báez was able to not let the critics and haters get to him. He played through the heckles and seemed to feed off it at times, as some teammates have suggested he does.
Even with a tougher performance on Sunday, Báez seems like a winner for his performance to “shut up” the critics this weekend. With a solid finish to the 2022 season, there has to be some hope that he can carry that into the offseason and hope to come back strong in 2023.
There are plenty of things to work on for his performance in the batters’ box to keep him occupied, as laying off the slider has still proven to be an issue. When he does get the barrel to a slider, it seems to be a pitch that is a mistake, where he capitalizes on it.
This weekend had to be a big one for Báez getting the most of the haters/critics in Chicago.