Hernan Perez might end up as one of the many players who finish their Tigers careers with exactly one hit. For the foreseeable future, he’ll be on the list with pitchers such as Jeremy Bonderman, failed prospects like Kevin Hooper and late-career gambles such as Vince Coleman.
At the moment, though, Perez might best represent the chaos of the 2012 season.
A few days ago, he was a 21-year-old middle infielder for Class-A Lakeland. He wasn’t even having a particularly good season — he was hitting .252 without much power — but he was at the exact right place at the exact right time. When Jhonny Peralta’s wife went into labor, Perez was the only healthy minor league infielder on the Tigers’ 40-man roster. That earned him a trip to Cincinnati, where he played in Detroit’s wins on Saturday and Sunday.
He was even a part of the Tigers’ shocking rally against previously unhittable Aroldis Chapman on national TV Sunday night, along with fellow no-names like Matt Young and Quintin Berry. He added his first major-league hit in the ninth inning and caught the pop fly that sealed Detroit’s victory.
Now, he’s back in Lakeland, Peralta’s wife having safely delivered twins on Saturday.
No one knows if Perez will be back with the Tigers anytime soon or if this will have been his entire major league career, but his weird story is a perfect example of a season that has been filled with Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski digging through the wreckage of the farm system to plug yet another hole.
Monday: No game.
Tuesday: Indians 4, TIGERS 2. The Tigers can’t take advantage of Ubaldo Jimenez’s wildness, and Drew Smyly allows three run-scoring triples.
Wednesday: Indians 9, TIGERS 6. Brennan Boesch drops a fly ball to keep Cleveland’s first inning alive, and Michael Brantley hits a three-run homer on Max Scherzer’s next pitch.
Thursday: TIGERS 7, Indians 5. Miguel Cabrera’s homer gives the Tigers a 7-1 lead in the fourth inning, and the Tigers hang on for Casey Crosby’s first major-league win.
Friday: REDS 6, Tigers 5. Rookie Jose Ortega blows an eighth-inning lead in his major-league debut, and the Reds win on Wilson Valdez’s walk-off squeeze bunt in the 10th.
Saturday: Tigers 3, REDS 2. Justin Verlander doesn’t end his winless streak and doesn’t get his first hit, but his six innings keep the Tigers in the game and Prince Fielder drives home the winning run in the eighth.
Sunday: Tigers 7, REDS 6. The Tigers score four times in the eighth inning, including twice against Chapman, the hottest reliever in baseball, for a playoff-atmosphere victory on national television.
Brennan Boesch: After a slump that had gone on for most of the season, Boesch showed some signs of life this week, hitting .350 with two doubles and a homer. Typically, he sprained his ankle while scoring the winning run Saturday, but limped off the bench to hit a key single off Chapman on Sunday.
Jose Valverde: He’s done awful things to his hair, but he retired all 12 batters he faced this week, including three straight 1-2-3 saves. He still hasn’t allowed a hit in June, but hopefully none of his teammates will take that as a sign to employ his hair-coloring services.
Drew Smyly: After getting roughed up Tuesday by the Indians, the rookie only lasted three innings in Cincinnati on Sunday when the middle finger on his pitching hand erupted into a spectacular blood blister. If the nationally televised shots of the finger weren’t bad enough, Smyly has entertained his Twitter followers with pictures of the healing process.
Quintin Berry: The magic might have run out just as Austin Jackson returned to the lineup. Berry hit .167 this week, and his defensive wizardry has often been due to his great recovery skills after he has gotten poor breaks on the ball.
Monday: No game.
Tuesday: Tigers (Max Scherzer) at Cubs (Paul Maholm), 8:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Tigers (Rick Porcello) at Cubs (Matt Garza), 8:05 p.m.
Thursday: Tigers (Justin Verlander) at Cubs (Travis Wood), 2:20 p.m.
Friday: Rockies (Jeff Francis) at Tigers (Casey Crosby), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Rockies (Christian Friedrich) at Tigers (Drew Smyly or Doug Fister), 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: Rockies (Jeremy Guthrie) at Tigers (Max Scherzer), 1:05 p.m.