Prince Fielder is starting to get back into the groove after struggling through May. He has hit three home runs in the past six games, but hasn’t been looking for the pitch to pull. He has taken what he’s been given and was able to extend his hitting streak to 11 games Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays because of it.
The Detroit Tigers‘ clean-up hitter started the season on a torrid pace, which may have spoiled him and forced him back into old habits.
Fielder hit over .300 for the first time in his career in 2012, largely because he knew it would be a lot tougher to hit balls out of Comerica Park than it was when he played with the Milwaukee Brewers. Fielder was content to try to drive balls into the gaps and look for doubles last season. The fact he was having no trouble hitting the ball out of Comerica early in the year may have made him a little greedier than he should have been.
Fielder appeared to be looking for the pitch he could pull for most of May and seemingly abandoning the notion of going the other way. He paid for it though, as his average has dropped to .282 since his hot start.
When Austin Jackson returns to the Tigers’ lineup, doubles become more valuable for Fielder. The Tigers don’t need him to hit home runs when their offense is on track. He simply needs to worry about putting the ball in play and taking what pitchers give him.