DETROIT – Should the Detroit Tigers just walk Nelson Cruz every single time he comes to the plate?
We’ve all seen “Tiger killers” come and go through the years. Billy Butler will haunt teenage me’s dreams until the end of time. And did Carlos Santana really have to stay in the AL Central?
But Cruz has taken the term to a whole new level.
In the first two meetings of 2021, Cruz is 6-for-11 with three home runs, a double and six RBI. That means he’s got 16 total bases in 11 plate appearances, or an average of 1.45 bases per trip to the plate. If the Tigers walked him every time, he would only get one base and couldn’t drive in any runs (unless the bases are loaded, of course).
Let’s also not forget, two of the five outs he’s made in the series were fly balls that outfielders caught with their backs against the fence. Another was a line drive to third that registered at over 110 mph.
Honestly, Nelson, isn’t there a nice beach home you can retire to?
Obviously A.J. Hinch isn’t going to walk him every time. It’s not exactly realistic. But the question does show how absolutely absurd Cruz has been against the Tigers in his career.
Cruz began torturing the people of Detroit in 2011, when he almost single-handedly eliminated the Tigers in the ALCS. In six games Cruz hit six homers and two doubles while driving in 13 runs! His OPS for the series was 1.713.
In his only season with the Orioles, Cruz still found time to crush our souls, going 6-for-12 with two home runs against the Tigers in the 2014 ALDS. That was the last time the Tigers were in the playoffs, and they had a chance to stay alive in Game 3 if not for a two-run home run by, guess who -- Nelson Cruz.
Now he’s in the AL Central. Goodie!
Last season was only 60 games long, so Cruz decided to fit 162 games’ worth of hits into the six games he played against the Tigers. Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, they could not get him out. He batted .368 with two home runs and a 1.113 OPS.
All the official stat pages say Cruz is 125-for-411 (.304 batting average) lifetime against the Tigers, but we all know he’s actually about 406-411 with a few hundred homers and a couple dozen more doubles down the left field line. We just know.
Maybe, just maybe, baseball will spare the Tigers by adding a designated hitter to the National League. Then Cruz can play happily into his 50s over there, where he can’t harm us.
Fortunately the Tigers only have to play the Twins... wait... SEVENTEEN MORE TIMES?
Maybe we really should have a talk with Hinch about the whole walk thing.