With a team that is loaded with superstar talent, the Detroit Tigers were able to stun the Cleveland Indians last night. The big blow did not come from Victor Martinez, Torri Hunter, or even Miguel Cabrera.
The Tigers trailed by one run heading into the ninth inning when Cleveland called on closer Cody Allen to get the save and help the Indians shot at gaining ground in the American League Wild Card race. Allen gave up back-to-back singles, but was able to get Victor Martinez fly out to shallow center field. With runners on first and second, J.D. Martinez stepped to the plate and wasted no time in belting a three-run home run into the trees in center field.
Joe Nathan came in for the ninth inning and earned save number 29 of the season and secured the Tigers 4-2 victory.
J.D. Martinez has been a blessing this season for the Tigers. Martinez was released at the end of last season by the Houston Astros, and was once looked at as an up-and-coming star prospect. Though he did not exactly live up to the expectations with the Astros, Detroit took a chance on him and he has proven to be an important piece in a star-studded lineup.
Martinez has already matched his previous three year career total with a big 2014 campaign. He is currently batting .311 and his power numbers are impressive as well. With the long ball he hit in last night's game, Martinez now has 19 home runs to go along with 63 RBIs. What may be more impressive is that Martinez did not become a regular everyday player in the Tigers lineup until nearly the third month of the season. Even with missing the first two months of the season, Martinez has made an impact.
Calm under pressure
Clutch could also be a word to describe Martinez this year, as he has come up big in crucial spots for the Tigers this season. Out of his 19 home runs that he has hit this season, 12 of them have been in the seventh inning or later. Martinez has hit three in the seventh, two in the eight, and seven in the ninth inning. He came into yesterday's game against the innings slugging a tremendous .818 in the ninth inning.
Many expect Detroit to be carried to the postseason by the arms of Max Scherzer, David Price, and Justin Verlander, or the bats of Cabrera and Victor Martinez. But the Tigers may continue getting great production from their unlikely hero in J.D. Martinez and his clutch bat to will them to the postseason.