Inside the Article:
Prior to Friday's game between the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners, we passed along the news that the Tigers were calling up Nick Maton, who had spent his previous 11 games with the Toledo Mud Hens while he attempted to tweak his batting stance. When the news was announced, many Tigers fans rushed to social media to express their disbelief that the Tigers were calling up Maton, who was batting just .163 before being demoted.
Making a Change for the Better
While with the Mud Hens, Maton focused on his stance, which he and the Tigers staff believed was his main issue. Instead of using an open stance, which he had used throughout his baseball life, Maton closed off his stance and he saw results immediately as he hit .290 with a .943 OPS in 11 games with the Mud Hens.
“It just allows him to stay on the ball a lot longer,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said before Friday's game. “We said when he was sent down, the pull-side ball in the air can't be the only threat that you have to contribute offensively. … I started to see more contact to the middle of the field, more contact to left field and singles, which are still cool. These are good steps that (show) his approach was cleaned up a little bit.”
“I've hit like that my whole life, and I was able to get to everything,” Maton said of the open stance, “but I've just been getting abused by offspeeds and getting nothing from fastballs anymore.”
“To be in my legs longer, and staying in them, allows me to stay in my swing when (pitches) are coming down,” Maton said before Friday's game. “Previously, I was coming up. If I'm coming up and out of my swing when the ball is coming down, it's not a recipe for success. Starting in my legs and building a foundation down there helps me out a little bit.”
“I feel like I'm not moving as much,” Maton said. “If your head isn't moving as much, you'll see the ball better. I feel like that helps me out.”
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to be someone on this team who can really contribute, help this team and be a main part of it,” Maton said of his first 72 games with the Tigers. “I wasn't doing well, and I was pressing to do even better to get back on track. Sometimes, that's hard on yourself. I feel like going down there was a good thing for me to find who I am again.”
Nick Maton's new stance pays off immediately for Tigers
Maton's new stance paid off immediately for the Tigers as he blasted a HUGE 2-run home run during Friday's 5-4 win over the Mariners.
“I'm playing like I know I can,” Maton said after Friday's victory, which moved the Tigers to five games behind the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central. “I know it's just one game, but I'm going to keep putting them together and keep on grinding.”
Bottom Line: One Game at a Time
As Maton pointed out, it was just one game, but if he can start producing offensively, it would be a HUGE spark for a Tigers team that needs to start stringing together wins immediately if they want to make a run in the American League Central. One thing is for certain, even though it was just one game, Maton sure did get off to a great start in his first game back with the Tigers. Now, it's time to start stacking those great games together.