Russell Martin, a good baseball player having a bad year, almost poisoned the Tigers earlier this week.
Martin, the New York Yankees catcher, is hitting below .200 for the season—well below his career mark (going into this year) of .272. But despite his failure to get a hit rate of over 80 percent, Martin shot the hearts of Tigers fans into their throats on Tuesday night.
It was the ninth inning, the Tigers clinging to a 6-4 lead, and closer Jose Valverde was having one of those ninth innings that all closers sometimes have—the kind where he leads the fans, like a demented pied piper, to the gates of Hell and back again.
Valverde was as wobbly as a punch-drunk prize fighter. And even the weak-hitting Martin wasn’t an antidote.
With runners on first and second and two outs, a run already in, Martin laced a Valverde fastball deep into the left-field corner. For sure, it was a double; the only question was: Would the hit score both runners and tie the game?
Raul Ibanez scored easily fr...