Kurt Mensching, Detroit Tigers blogger extraordinaire at Bless You Boys, is now also a featured columnist covering the Tigers for The Detroit News. You can read his debut column about why the Tigers should continue playing Ryan Raburn at the Detroit News website (if you live in the Motor City area you can also pick up a print copy at your local newsstand). Here's an excerpt:
When Leyland insists he has to get Raburn started, he's not kidding. Raburn's the only second baseman in the organization with a track record of hitting. When he's hot, he can be a difference maker.
After the All-Star Break in 2011, Raburn hit .341, got on base nearly 40 percent of the time and slugged .574. Only Miguel Cabrera was more effective for the Tigers in the second half. In 2010, Raburn batted .315 with .900 OPS, 13 home runs and 46 RBIs after the break.
You don't just ditch that because of a slow start — especially when the player is known for how poorly he bats early in the season.
Part of Raburn's problem this season is luck. For some, that's a four-letter word. In baseball, it's just a fact of life. Hitters don't have pinpoint accuracy when the ball leaves their bat. Some are pull hitters. Some can use the whole field. But none of them are routinely slamming the cowhide into "Hit it here!" signs.
Big congratulations to Kurt on going mainstream!