Prince pounding against southpaws this season
DETROIT -- With a three-game homer streak entering Wednesday, Prince Fielder is on the kind of power tear that Tigers officials and fans alike were waiting to see. Lost in the power trip, however, is the fact that he's pounding the ball against left-handed pitchers this year.
That was demonstrated on Tuesday. Though Fielder's 12th homer of the year made headlines, it was an add-on after the Tigers jumped on lefty Matt Moore early. Manager Jim Leyland, in fact, feels that Fielder's best at-bat of the night came in the first inning, when he worked the count full in a nine-pitch at-bat that ended in a single to left.
"Moore was really throwing nasty," Leyland said, "and I thought [Fielder] had a great at-bat to fight him off. It wasn't a bullet, but I thought that was a terrific at-bat. Then, you know, against another lefty, [reliever Cesar Ramos], he got a sac fly to center field. He had a heck of a night."
A major reason behind Fielder's career-best .313 average last season was his ability to hit lefties; he batted .289 against southpaws last year while hitting right-handers at a .328 clip. This season his success off lefties has helped balance his struggles against right-handers.
Fielder entered Wednesday's game batting .373 with four home runs off southpaws, compared with .241 with eight homers off righties.
Among players with enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title, Fielder entered Wednesday tied for 10th in batting average off lefties.