Detroit – — The numbers say it's not been a problem. But your eyes sometimes tell you, as they did Monday night, that it is.
Going into Tuesday night's game at Comerica Park against the White Sox, the Tigers had the best team batting average with runners in scoring position in the American League at .283.
They also led the AL last year at .282, and were the best in the majors in 2012 at .286.
This year, they were tied for the major-league lead with the Dodgers before Tuesday's games. At the bottom end, for perspective, the Padres are last in the majors at .221 while and the Red Sox are the worst in the AL at .231.
But that's not to say the Tigers have been entirely consistent with RISP.
And what brought the latest attention to how hot and cold they can be was the 0-for-6 they went in Monday night's 2-0 loss.
Even with manager Brad Ausmus admitting it's been "feast or famine" for the Tigers with RISP this season, the fact is they've generated the second highest amount of runs in the majors in the category (560).
Only the Angels, at 575, have taken more advantage of their scoring-position opportunities.
And, again for perspective, it's necessary to look at the bottom end of the list, where the Yankees, at 440, have scored the fewest runs in the AL.
As for his "feast or famine" comment, Ausmus said "sometimes we score a bunch of runs and hit well, and other times like last night or Sunday afternoon, we get chances with runners in scoring position, but don't drive them in. It's been a little bit of a high and a low, but overall, we're among the best in baseball."
Among those position players with enough at-bats to qualify as a league leader, Cleveland's Michael Brantley is first at .374. Miguel Cabrera tops the Tigers at .343.
Also on the high side of the Tigers .283 team average is Eugenio Suarez at .339, Victor Martinez at .317, Ian Kinsler at .309, J.D. Martinez at .304 and Rajai Davis at .300.
Alex Avila at .259 has the lowest average with RISP among Tigers with at least 100 at-bats in such situations. Andrew Romine at .190 has the lowest average with RISP among Tigers with at least 50 at-bats in such situations.
The Tigers player with the second most extra-base hits with RISP this year is J.D. Martinez, with seven doubles, one triple and seven home runs. Only Cabrera, with 11 doubles and six home runs, has more extra-base hits in the category.
Cabrera's career average with RISP is .336, and he's better than that again this year. But last year he hit .397 after .356 in 2012 and .388 in 2011.
Victor Martinez is at .317 this year, but was at .394 in 2011, his first year with the Tigers,
Kinsler, meanwhile, has made huge strides hitting with RISP. In 2012 with the Rangers, he sank to .226 before rebounding with the same team to .314 last year and maintaining that level at .309 this season.
White Sox at Tigers
First pitch: 1:05 Wednesday, Comerica Park, Detroit
■LHP Chris Sale (12-4, 2.20), White Sox: He's had an outstanding season, but isn't finishing strongly. In his last nine starts, he's 2-3 with a 2.79 ERA and was knocked around for five runs on nine hits by the Royals in five innings his last start.
■RHP Justin Verlander (14-12, 4.68), Tigers: This start gives him a chance to end the season with three wins in a row and five of his last six decisions. In his last six starts, he's 4-1 with a 4.35 ERA.