DETROIT – Baseball can be a very weird game. Sometimes pitchers hit home runs, or position players take the mound and pitch scoreless innings. The bottom line is that basically anything is possible in between the foul lines.
But what happened Monday at Comerica Park was perhaps one of the most unexpected developments of the 2017 season.
Victor Martinez bunted. And it worked. For a hit. Yes, really.
When Martinez came up to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning, he bunted Trevor Bauer's first pitch down the third base line for an easy single. The Indians were in a heavy shift toward the right side, so Martinez simply pushed the ball the other way and trotted to first.
Or maybe he ran. Or walked. It's hard to tell.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) May 2, 2017
That's the part that makes this accomplishment so strange. Martinez is in a league of his own when it comes to lack of foot speed on the base paths. It causes physical discomfort to watch the 38-year-old lumber down the first base line on a ground ball or go first to third on a double. With David Ortiz now retired, Martinez has a firm grip on the slowest-player-in-baseball title.
Aside from the fact that their designated hitter is laying down bunts, Tigers fans likely enjoyed seeing Martinez beat the shift this way. It was the first bunt base hit of Martinez's career, and who knows if it will be his last.
Martinez is one of many Tigers who feasted off of Bauer on Monday, as they scored seven runs and chased him after four innings.
Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez are expected to return to the lineup soon, so bunt singles won't be the team's most notable highlight for long.