The Tigers have showed signs of pressing this season. A lineup full of high powered bats coupled with through-the-roof expectations may be one of the reasons the offense has sputtered. Expanding the strike zone has been a problem as the Tigers are not swinging at enough strikes. Nor are they walking enough. Detroit entered play on Monday 12th in the American League in walks.
Miguel Cabrera has walked only 10 times this year and three were intentional. Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young have combined for only ten walks.
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon knows the Tigers have to change their approach if they want success. My philosophy is simple,” he said. “Get a good pitch and take a good swing. I’ve preached that to everyone from my son to Prince Fielder, to Miguel Cabrera to Brian Giles.” The lack of walks indicates the Tigers are pressing a bit. Trying to make something happen has taken its toll on the offensive numbers.
“We have to remain patient, “McClendon said. “You win games by working pitch counts and getting the starter out of the game. Your goal should be to get to the other team’s middle relief every night.”
Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols were the two biggest acquisitions in the off season. The Angels invested heavily in one of the game’s greatest hitters. So far he has given them a .196 average and one home run in 34 games. He has walked only seven times. Fielder snapped an 0-22 slump with three hits Monday night and while he has not approached the depths of Pujols’ struggles, he too has put extra pressure on himself.
So how much of the struggles these two stars have endured is due to changing leagues? “On a scale of 1-10, I would say a five,” McClendon said. “You put so much pressure on yourself to fit in and to contribute that you get away from doing the things that made you successful.”
We all know that Fielder will finish with numbers that reflect his first seven years in the major leagues. Cabrera will be there at the end of the season as well. It’s a matter of everyone around them contributing, and it all starts with getting a good pitch and taking a good swing. Mix in a walk too.