In the first half of the 2014 season, Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler batted .303, posted a .807 OPS, hit 11 home runs, drove in 51 runs and made an All-Star team. His second half, however, has been going significantly slower. He enters play on Friday slashing just .224/.261/.293 with one home run and 18 RBIs since the All-Star break.
Kinsler’s post All-Star break slump is not terribly unusual, considering the fact that he is a .258 career hitter in the second half compared to a .285 hitter in the first half. However, despite the fact that he has a little bit of a reputation for being a first-half player, he did in fact put up an incredibly impressive September not too long ago.
Three years ago while still playing for the Texas Rangers, Kinsler had an enormous September, slashing .330/.421/.711 with 11 home runs, eight stolen bases and 17 RBIs in 24 games. Kinsler and the 2011 Rangers would, of course, go on to defeat the Tigers in the 2011 ALCS before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2011 World Series.
September of 2014 is now rapidly approaching, and it would be absolutely huge for the Tigers if Kinsler could give them what he gave the Rangers in September of 2011. Detroit is currently trailing the Kansas City Royals by 1.5 games in the AL Central, and they are dead-even with the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot. The Tigers could really use an extra jolt of offense to push them over the hump.
It is true that the Tigers are getting great offensive seasons out of Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, and they are also getting solid rookie campaigns out of Nick Castellanos and Eugenio Suarez. Superstar Miguel Cabrera may not be producing at the rate he has in years past, but he is still having a fine season by most player’s standards. Torii Hunter continues to swing the bat well for a 39-year-old as well.
For whatever reason, though, the Tigers’ offense has shown a tendency to fall flat on occasion this year. If Kinsler could get hot again, he could really help breathe some life into it.
Kinsler and Rajai Davis have been the two major catalysts of the Tigers’ offense this season, and good things seem to happen when they are going well. Hitting can be contagious, and it would be great to see Kinsler start tearing it up at the top of the order again.