This morning's story
Will Victor ever go long again?
about Victor Martinez’s lame hamstring has the same scent as the tales of Travis Hafner and Joe Borowski from the first two months of the season. It now follows a rote formula. Player A is not performing up to expectations. Organization B says nothing is wrong. Later, Organization fesses up that Player A is actually suffering from Condition C resulting in Performance D – D, of course, standing for depressing, disgusting, disastrous, and deserving of defenestration.
Why the Tribe doesn’t just sit these guys when they first report their injuries is a mystery; who knows how Hafner or Martinez would be hitting had they taken time to rest when the injuries first arose? But the story today is Victor’s lack of power, which gives us a chance to handicap when the
light-hitting catcher will first manage to loft a pitched ball over the fence. ...
The Facts: 168 at bats this year. 0 home runs. 29 years-old. Born in Venezuela. Slugging a miserable .351 this season. Does some funky thing with his hands where he blows on his thumb after home runs. Hasn’t had the chance to do that this year. Dreamy eyes. Is one of only 8 players with the qualified number of at bats this year to have zero home runs. The others are:
Jason Kendall – 71 career HR
Delmon Young – 16 career HR
Jason Bartlett – 10 career HR
Willy Taveras –6 career HR
Joe Mauer –35 career HR
Juan Pierre –12 career HR
Julio Lugo –76 career HR
Martinez has 86 career dingers, and, well, he has to hit one eventually, right?
Barring any time on the bench to rest his hamstring, I’m pegging this upcoming weekend’s trip to Detroit for Victor’s chance to go yard. In the last three seasons, Martinez has hit more home runs in June (15) than in any other month. Last year he hit more homers (8) against Detroit than any other team, and more dingers at Comerica Park (3) than in any other ballpark other than the one on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Add in that the Tribe will be facing Justin Verlander, who has given up eight HR this year and who Victor has four career HR against, and Jeremy Bonderman, who has given up nine HR and who Victor has two career HR against, and the fact that they are both righties and Victor has more dingers against righties in the last three season (45) than against southpaws (16), and you’ve got the recipe for an overdue notch in the HR column next to Victor’s name.
Then again, he could continue to suck as bad as the rest of the Tribe’s offense and never, ever, ever hit another home run again. But for now, the odds on his first jack coming this weekend are a solid 4-1. After that, his next best chance might be wiffle ball against the neighbor kids. – Vince the Polack