Friday, April 8, 2011

Martinez shines 'protecting' Cabrera

The batting order Jim Leyland put together for the Tigers' home-opening game might be the one Detroit fans will want to see most this season.
Jackson, Rhymes and Ordonez at the top; Cabrera, Martinez and Boesch as the middle third and Peralta, Avila and Inge in the 7-9 holes.
There's some speed at the top of the order, power in the middle and the potential for run production at the bottom.
A lot of American League clubs not nicknamed Yankees or Rangers wish they could string together those hitters.
Victor Martinez gave the home crowd a glimpse of what he's capable of as "protection" for Miguel Cabrera.
The DH-catcher who was signed as a free agent in the offseason found the bases loaded in his first Comerica Park at bat as a Tiger, and Martinez quickly unloaded them with a double that sparked Detroit to a 5-2 victory over the Royals on Friday.
That had to be precisely the scenario, and the result, general manager Dave Dombrowski had in mind when he signed Martinez to hit behind Cabrera.
Last season, especially after injuries took a toll, the Tigers had no consistent threat to slot behind Cabrera, to force teams to throw strikes to their big first baseman.
But that changes with an effective Martinez, a switch-hitter who can drive the baseball to the power alleys.
Miguel and Martinez.
They're not Mantle and Maris, the fabled M&M boys of great Yankees teams from a half-century ago.
But Cabrera and Martinez could be plenty good.
And that would suit fans in the "D" just fine.

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