We have all seen it in baseball. You’ll be sitting there watching your favorite team and you’ll just be thinking to yourself “Oh s—, this guys just kills us every time we play him”. You never have to know the exact numbers behind it all, but you just get that vibe that for some inexplicable reason, some player’s eyes just light up like the Fourth of July when they see a specific ball club. Every team has those “arch enemies”.
There is one guy in recent years I can think of that just kills the Detroit Tigers, and that is Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Now, if you looked at Cruz’s career splits vs. Detroit, you would see a .269 BA, with 9 home runs and 33 runs batted in. Not great, but not terrible. In theory, you could say Cruz does ‘average’ against the Tigers……unless he’s playing against them in the postseason.
Nelson Cruz has played in 41 postseason games in his time spent with the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles, compiling a .292 batting average. He has faced the Tigers two separate times in the playoffs. The first was in the 2011 ALCS when he was a member of the Rangers. The other was just last season in the 2014 ALDS with the Orioles. Cruz has been on the winning end of each series, and in the nine games he’s played against Detroit, he is hitting an absurd .412 (14 for 34), with 8 homers, 18 RBI’s, and 11 runs scored. I think it safe to say that Tigers fans don’t want to see him in the playoffs anymore.
The Tigers just recently finished up a series against the Oakland Athletics, a lineup that features former Kansas City Royals star and fan favorite, and also Tiger killer Billy Butler. He’s another guy in recent years that you just know is going to do damage against Detroit.
We decided to dig into the archives and see who the best Tigers killers are. Our list will include active MLB players who have had played in at least 50 games vs. Detroit and have had at least 150 at-bats vs. Tigers pitchers. Will Cruz or Butler crack the top 10?