When a team puts together an 18-4 type run, usually said team is doing it by playing well and getting some breaks. Some of those breaks the Tigers have been getting of late have come in the form of pinch hitters.
The Tigers have used pinch hitters 26 times this season and are hitting a robust 435/440/913 in those situations. That’s good, but like so many of the Tigers other stats they look a whole lot better when you look at the month of June.
In 11 June pinch hitting plate appearances the Tigers are 6 for 9 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. Of those hits 2 were homers, 1 was a triple, and 1 was a double. Three of the plate appearances gave the Tigers the lead and 2 tied the score. Yes small sample size and unsustainable production and so forth. But there is no denying the Tigers made the most of some high leverage opportunities.
And what makes it even more amazing is that only one of those 9 plate appearances came from what you’d consider a starter. It’s Jeff Larish and Ryan Raburn and Mike Hollimon, and Clete Thomas, and Matt Joyce getting it done.
Now Jim Leyland I guess deserves a little credit for “pushing the right buttons” but the decisions have largely been elementary. Yesterday Clete Thomas was forced in for an injured Miguel Cabrera. And 9 of the PA’s came in NL parks where it was mostly a matter of hitting for a pitcher.
But there are two of the situations where Leyland had a choice, and made the correct one. Of course there was last night where Leyland went with the platoon advantage and sent in Matt Joyce over Ryan Raburn. The other was a tougher call where he sent in Marcus Thames as a platoon partner for a hot Curtis Granderson. That was of course successful when Thames hit a 2 run go ahead homer.