Prince Fielder hasn’t been himself lately, but the Detroit Tigers‘ first-baseman may finally be turning things around with a little help from his friends.
Fielder tallied his first three-hit game since June 4 on Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox. You have to go back almost an entire month before that since he had another. Fielder had batted .133 over his previous 11 games with one multi-hit game.
He put the Tigers on the board in the first inning with a two-run home run. After racking up seven bombs in April, Fielder’s power numbers took a huge hit. He hit only two longballs in May and four in June. His homer Wednesday was his third of July, so it looks as if he may be starting to get his power stroke back.
The key to his success, however, may lie in the hands of the hitter behind him.
The best news for Fielder is that Victor Martinez finally appears to be perking up with the bat. Pitchers were willing to dance around him because Martinez wasn’t posing much of a threat at the dish. If Martinez’s presence looms large in the on-deck circle, pitchers should feel like they have to attack Fielder more than they have.
Opposing pitchers were dancing around the strike zone with Fielder because walking him wasn’t a big deal with Martinez’s struggles. The better V-Mart does at the plate, the better the pitches should get for Fielder to hit. Martinez has to make pitchers pay for putting runners on base, otherwise Fielder will continue to chase.
He’s willing to take walks, but prefers to get the bat off his shoulder. After all, the Tigers paid him to see him trot around the bases, not stroll to first base with a free pass.