Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/18/13
First came the rain then came the boos raining down on Prince Fielder. And if you’d been paying attention you knew both were in the forecast Thursday night at Comerica Park. If Game 5 was a pivot point in this American League Championship Series between the Tigers and the Boston Red Sox it also might prove to be one between the baseball fans in Detroit and the team’s highest-paid player. Because with the Tigers now facing elimination Saturday night at Fenway Park after a 4-3 loss in Game 5 Fielder’s running out of time to alter his team’s October fate let alone the perceptions of him as a clutch performer in this town. Thursday’s seventh-inning shower of frustrated voices suggests as much and yes Fielder heard them. “They’re fans” he said calmly addressing a pack of reporters following game. “I mean it’s definitely not pleasant. But if that’s what they want to do they can do it.” It is as he admitted Thursday night “part of the deal.” This wasn’t though: Prince continues to be a postseason pauper even though he’s obviously being paid to be a playoff popper. He’s far from the only hitter in the Tigers lineup who’s struggling. But while his manager has come to his defense publicly this week — he did again prior to Thursday’s game — there’s little doubt he’s leaving his team in the lurch. Maybe that explains why a guy who generally plays it cool shrugging off any sense of urgency the way he does beanball pitches seems to be in a hurry to do something about it at the plate. Five of his eight at-bats the past two games have been one-pitch outs with four weak grounders and a line drive to center field in that handful. The other three plate appearances produced a three-pitch ground out a six-pitch strikeout and a seeing-eye single in the first inning of Game 5 that was his lone highlight Thursday. His next three at-bats he ended innings with ground outs against an overshifted infield. “I’m just trying to be aggressive” he said. “Probably a little too aggressive.” But he adds repeating something he often says “I’m just trying to hit it hard. I’m trying real hard to hit it hard. That’s all right though. I like to try hard.”
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