Published October 26, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO – Prince Fielder hasn't provided the meaty production the Detroit Tigers expect.
"Obviously they're not going to throw us center cuts all day," the burly slugger said.
His first two World Series games after signing a $214 million contract have been forgettable. No RBIs. One hit, a single at that.
And he was thrown out at the plate in the second inning Thursday night when he tried to score from first base on a double, a key play in the Tigers' 2-0 loss to San Francisco that sent Detroit home with a 2-0 World Series deficit.
"Once again when we hit the ball hard they made good plays," Fielder said. "That combination is pretty deadly."
Fielder is fizzling, hitting just .205 for the Tigers this postseason with one home run and three RBIs in 11 games. Those meager numbers have dropped him to .198 (19 for 96) in his postseason career. Quite a contrast to his first regular season in Motown, when he batted .313 with 30 homers and 108 RBIs.
Miguel Cabrera, batting in the No. 3 hole ahead of Fielder, was 1 for 5 with one RBI during the two games in San Francisco.
Detroit had its chances. After Omar Infante reached on an infield single leading off the fourth, Cabrera lined to Pablo Sandoval, who made a leaping, backhand catch at third base, and Fielder flied to Gregor Blanco on the left-field warning track.
Cabrera walked in the seventh and Fielder hit a comebacker that lefty Madison Bumgarner turned into a 1-6-3 double play.
"We got two hits tonight. I'm certainly not going to sit up here and rip my offense because last night I thought we had some pretty good swings," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Cabrera hit a bullet tonight. We had the unfortunate play at the plate early, so no, I think our offense is fine."
Fielder and the Tigers had a chance to go ahead early. Fielder was hit on the right shoulder by Bumgarner's pitch in the second, and Delmon Young followed with a double down the left-field line.
After the ball ricocheted off the wall in foul territory and back into left field, third base coach Gene Lamont signaled for Fielder to keep running. Blanco threw to second baseman Marco Scutaro, standing about 15 feet behind third base, and Scutaro threw home. Giants catcher Buster Posey tagged Fielder on the rear end.
"Any time those kind of freak plays happen that don't go your way, it takes away a little momentum," Fielder said. "But you've got to be aggressive. They made a perfect play."
Fielder turned around, crouched, stood up and pointed at the plate, miffed by umpire Dan Iassogna's call. Fielder didn't feel Posey's tag but said after the game he probably was wrong.
"I think Gene just got a little overaggressive," Leyland said. "I thought with my naked eye, I thought he was out, but when Prince reacted, I thought, well, maybe he might have missed him. But the umpire made a great call. He made an absolute terrific call in a big situation."
Would Fielder have done anything differently if he had to do it again?
"Yeah, I wish I did a flip," he said playfully.
Even when he dived for Hunter Pence's foul ball wide of first base, he couldn't quite come up with it and grimaced after landing hard on his wrist.
It was that type of trip.
Now the Tigers go home to Comerica Park, where they were 50-31 during the regular season. They don't have much time for a turnaround if they hope to bring Detroit its first World Series title since 1984.
After starting a pair of left-handers, the Giants will go with two righties, Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain. And surprisingly, Fielder is 1 for 18 (.056) against righties in the postseason, with a home run against Oakland's A.J. Griffin in the division series.
He said the Tigers must caution against getting too hyped up.
"We can't try to win three in one day," Fielder said. "Or two for that matter."