DETROIT -- The Tigers began a five-game stretch against left-handers on Wednesday with an 8-13 record against them on the season and an overall record three games below .500. Now, through their first three games against the southpaws, they're undefeated and at the break-even mark at 42-42 on the season for the first time since May 15.
Manager Jim Leyland isn't dwelling on the .500 record -- he said the only place that will take Detroit is home come October -- but it's enough to make the skipper admit he's happy with how the team's swinging the bat.
"I am [happy]," he said on Saturday. "We've got some big hits against the lefties. Miguel [Cabrera] did, Prince [Fielder] did and Delmon Young did. And that's what we've needed. So hopefully [Ryan] Raburn, [Jhonny] Peralta, maybe they can do something these next couple games against the lefties."
Young, Raburn and Peralta were the three guys Leyland called out prior to Thursday's game. To win, he said, the team needed more production from the trio, especially against left-handers.
It seems at least Young is responding, as he hit home runs in back-to-back games entering Saturday, including the go-ahead blast in the sixth inning of Friday's 4-2 win.
It hasn't been the easiest season for Young, to put it lightly, but he is showing promise. The outfielder/designated hitter is hitting .325 (13-for-40) over his past 10 games with three homers and eight RBIs.
"He's better," Leyland said. "He's been a proven run producer .. Not a great run producer, but a good run producer. That's big for us when you got somebody coming through behind the two big guys. That's pretty important."
Young hit .268 with eight homers and 34 RBIs through 76 games. It's a far cry from the 32 RBIs through 40 games after being traded to Detroit last year, but the team hopes his recent success is a sign of its No. 5 hitter getting hot.