MLB Playoffs 2012: Slumping Players Who Will Start to Turn It Around

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MLB Playoffs 2012: Slumping Players Who Will Start to Turn It Around
Al Bello/Getty Images

Some of the best players in MLB are experiencing unexplained postseason slumps this year.

As the hunt for the World Series heats up, the remaining teams desperately need production from key players for a shot at a ring.

In the ALCS, Detroit’s pitching has been masterful this postseason, letting up no more than two runs in a single game. The Yankees pitching has been great as well with a postseason ERA under four.

The NLCS is much more of an offensive showcase.

The San Francisco Giants’ and St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching has been inconsistent at times, as their respective offenses have remained strong.

With the Championship Series wrapping up, here are a few players set for a comeback in the remainder of the 2012 postseason.

 

Robinson Cano

The Yankees are down three games to none in their series with Detroit and need an ’04 Red Sox miracle in order to advance.

Robinson Cano was the catalyst behind the Yankees' offense during the regular season. This postseason, though, Cano has managed a measly two hits in 36 at-bats.

This isn’t you ordinary slumping player.

We’re talking about a 29-year-old, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner with a World Series ring and 33 career postseason RBIs.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Cano striking out in Game 3 of the ALCS vs. Detroit.

This is also a guy, who ended the season batting .313, with one of the sweetest swings in baseball.

Cano will come through with a few hits in tonight’s game against Detroit, but it won’t be enough to seal the victory for the Yankees.

 

Nick Swisher

Swisher is hitting just .154 this postseason. Fresh off two days rest, he’s bound to utilize that short porch against right-hander Max Scherzer tonight.

Swisher is hitting .286, with three walks, in his career against Scherzer.

Yankees should have Swisher batting sixth or seventh in the lineup tonight against the right-hander.

Swisher brings a unique charisma to this Yankees team. If he can string together a few hits tonight, don’t be surprised if the struggling bats of Cano, Granderson and Rodriguez come alive.

 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Fielder celebrating a victory over the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS.

 

Prince Fielder

Fielder has quietly had a terrible October, as he’s batting just .182 in 33 at-bats against mediocre Athletics and Yankees pitching staffs.

Unlike Joe Girardi’s benching of slumping bats like A-Rod and Swisher, Jim Leyland has maintained confidence in his slugger. Fielder continues to bat fourth in the lineup behind a red-hot Miguel Cabrera.

Tonight, the Yankees give C.C. Sabathia the start to try to keep their postseason alive.

While Girardi really doesn’t have a better option at pitcher for tonight’s game, Cabrera and Fielder hit well over .360 in their careers versus Sabathia.

Tonight, Prince Fielder’s bat will finally come alive against a familiar foe in Sabathia. Hitting behind Cabrera, Fielder should have multiple opportunities at RBIs, reigniting his bat.

 

Yadier Molina

Molina’s four, soon to be five, gold gloves have cemented him in this Cardinals lineup, no matter how poorly he bats.

This season was different.

Molina batted .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs, making him and the Giants’ Buster Posey the best offensive catchers in baseball.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Molina taking batting practice before Game 1 of the ALCS.

This postseason, Molina is hitting a microscopic .138 with two RBIs.

While he hasn’t been able to get a lot of hits, his on-base percentage is still respectable at .286. His five walks are the second-most on the Cardinals this postseason.

As long as his patience at the plate remains, his offensive production is bound to pickup.

Molina and the Cardinals face a struggling Matt Cain tonight in St. Louis, so Molina, who has four hits in 14 at-bats against Cain, has a chance to do some real damage.

 

Matt Cain

On the flip side, Cain is one of the best career postseason pitchers in the playoffs this season.

In his first start on Oct. 6, Cain pitched only 5 innings, letting up three earned runs off home runs from Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce.

In his second start against Cincinnati, Cain went 5.2 innings, letting up six hits and three earned runs once again.

Tonight he’s matched up against a very good Cardinals pitcher in Kyle Lohse.

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Cain will take his 1.69 postseason ERA and nail down the victory tonight in St. Louis.

 

Adam Wainwright

Wainwright is coming off a disappointing start against Washington. He didn’t get a decision and let up six earned runs on seven hits in just 2.1 innings.

Wainwright has a great chance of coming out of tomorrow’s game with his first win this postseason.

The Cardinals have a combined career batting average of .322 against Tim Lincecum—a stat that definitely jumps off the page.

Wainwright, like Matt Cain, also has great postseason credentials. In 25.2 postseason innings, Wainwright struck out a ridiculous 37 batters and has given up just eight runs.

Wainwright will have plenty of run support in tomorrow’s game.

If he can put up numbers similar to his first start against Washington (0 ER in 5.2 IP), he can bounce back against the Giants.

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