He’s leading the team in homers with 23 despite having only 289 at-bats. He’s one of only three Tigers with slugging percentages north of .500 and the only one with an OPS above .900. And yet Marcus Thames can’t get regular playing time on a team that has been struggling to score runs with any sort of consistency.
You see, Thames picked an unfortunate time to go into a little slump back in July. His struggles happened to coincide with Craig Monroe launching into the most prolific offensive surge of his career, as well as the return of Dmitri Young. Below are the 3 players respective July numbers:
Player AB BA OBA SPct Monroe 89 .348 .366 .618 Thames 66 .197 .274 .409 Young 30 .367 .394 .767
Thames struggles made it tough for him to crack the lineup in anything more than a platoon situation. Now even has he’s pulling out of his funk, Young and Monroe are still going strong. So how does Thames get back in the lineup? Here’s a look at those 3, plus one more, for the month of August (today’s game not included):
Player AB BA OBA SPct Monroe 94 .309 .369 .606 Thames 39 .231 .318 .564 Young 60 .317 .359 .517 Ordonez 91 .264 .316 .374
I know that in the real world, Marcus Thames isn’t going to take Magglio Ordonez out of the lineup. Especially with both players being right handed there isn’t even the perceived platoon advantage. (I say perceived because 30% of his homers have come against southpaws while 37% of his at-bats have come against lefties. And that’s just a counting stat, his rate stats are better versus righties also. Of course sample size issues abound, but take the numbers for what they are.). Ordonez does have a long track record of success, but as Rod Allen pointed out today he’s “playing pepper with the left side of the infield.”
Until Ordonez gets things figured out, maybe he should get a couple more days off here and there, if only to get Thames bat in the lineup once more a week.