Seeing ball better, J-Up seeing average slowly rise
By Kyle Beery
DETROIT -- Justin Upton was one of the Tigers' premiere acquisitions of the offseason, but he had a bit of a rough start to his stint with the team. While his batting average is at .225, Upton has an extra-base hit in three of his last six games, a stretch in which he is hitting .304.
Upton went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run home run, on Monday as the Tigers routed the Blue Jays, 11-0, in the opener of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
With his average slowly starting to climb, Upton said he has been seeing the ball better over the last week.
"My rhythm, my timing, everything's better," Upton said. "I'm just seeing the ball better. I told [Tigers manager Brad Ausmus] a few days ago that I was seeing the ball better, and I had to show it."
He has shown it over the last few games. Upton's home run on Monday came on a full count off J.A. Happ in the third inning. It barely cleared the right-field wall and was reviewed by the umpires and confirmed as a homer. His two-hit night was the follow-up effort to a 2-for-4 performance Sunday in which he hit a fifth-inning double that busted the game open in a win over the White Sox.
While Upton was slumping -- including a 2-for-33 stretch in early May -- he said he was able to get some feedback from his teammates that eventually got him back on track.
"When you look around this clubhouse and you see other guys that can pick you up, I think it's a lot easier, and guys have done that," Upton said.
As the Tigers have won 13 out of 20 games to climb back above .500 and within three games of first place in the American League Central, Upton is cautious to call this the Tigers' turning point in the season, but he thinks it's a good place to start.
"We've got to make sure that we stay the course and believe in the process to win as many games as we can," Upton said.
Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.