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Avila shakes off troubles behind plate, at plate

The Sports Xchange
 
Avila shakes off troubles behind plate, at plate · Roster Report · Notes, Quotes
 

Here's some insight into Tigers catcher Alex Avila.

The first thing he did following Detroit's 5-1 loss Monday at Baltimore was check out a video replay of the second-inning, two-out wild pitch that scored the Orioles' first run of the game.

Detroit finished Monday's game with a league-worst six wild pitches, five with Avila behind the plate.

What Avila saw was a catcher who had slid back into some bad habits, not shifting to the proper angle so pitches in the dirt would bounce back in front of him instead of skidding off to the side.

After a refresher course in practice Tuesday, when no game was scheduled, Avila rebounded.

It's worth noting that not a single pitch got by the catcher Wednesday in Detroit's 7-3 victory over Baltimore -- and Justin Verlander was pitching. Verlander has some of the nastiest stuff in the majors, as voted by his peers.

Manager Jim Leyland, who never got above Class AA as a catcher, spent some time before the game praising his young catcher -- at the same time noting Avila needs to relax and make playing baseball in the majors as enjoyable as it was at the University of Alabama, where he converted from third base to catcher just before his final collegiate season.

Avila drove in a career-high five runs Wednesday in Detroit's second victory of the season, hitting a two-run double, a two-run home run and an RBI single. He entered the game with one hit on the season.

Leyland said he was now going to rethink his intention to give Avila a break Thursday.

"If I don't catch Alex after a game like that," he said, "you're never going to catch him."

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2016 Team Leaders
AVGMiguel Cabrera , 1B.316
HRMiguel Cabrera , 1B38
RBIMiguel Cabrera , 1B108
OBPMiguel Cabrera , 1B.393
SLGMiguel Cabrera , 1B.563
RIan Kinsler , 2B117
SBCameron Maybin , CF15
WJustin Verlander , SP16
ERAJustin Verlander , SP3.04
WHIPJustin Verlander , SP1.00
KJustin Verlander , SP254
SVFrancisco Rodriguez , RP44

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