It took nearly half a season, but it’s starting to look like Victor Martinez has shaken off the rust. It was only a matter of time before he got into the groove. He has a proven track record of being a quality hitter, and is there anyone who wouldn’t be a little rusty after missing an entire season?
The Detroit Tigers‘ designated hitter is on a 10-game hitting streak and is finally starting to raise his average. It now sits at .245 and appears to be going up.
He’s also made a few spectacular plays defensively lately, which is a sign that he’s getting more comfortable with his knee. His average has hovered between .200 and .220 for the majority of the season, but lately he’s looking much more comfortable in the box.
He’s scoring more runs as well. Martinez racked up just five runs in April while only missing one game. His total climbed to eight in May and doubled to 16 in June. He’s on pace for over 20 in July. He looks much more comfortable running the bases. At the beginning of the season, he appeared tentative on the basepaths and was thrown out at home a couple of times while trying to score from second base on a single.
Now he’s comfortably rolling into second base with doubles. He has already hit four in July, including a two-run blast Monday over the head of Cleveland Indians‘ center fielder Michael Bourn that plated the game-winning runs.
He’s never been a huge home run hitter, which is fine because the Tigers don’t need that from him. They get plenty of power from Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera. They need Martinez to drive the ball in the gaps and clean up after the big boys, which is usually what he does best.
If Martinez gets going, the Tigers could start to put more distance between themselves and their chasers. They’ve held the Indians off recently, winning eight of the last nine games the teams have played against each other. It will be tough for him to raise his average over .300 for the season, but there is a good chance he could do that from here on out.
The Tigers already hold a 3.5 game lead in the division and would get a lot scarier if V-Mart gets rolling.