MLB World Series 2012: Jhonny Peralta Will Be X-Factor for Detroit

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MLB World Series 2012: Jhonny Peralta Will Be X-Factor for Detroit
Leon Halip/Getty Images
Jhonny Peralta hits one of his two home runs in Game 4 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees

Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta didn’t have his best season this year with Detroit. He batted .239, down from .299 last year. He hit in 63 RBI, 23 fewer than last season. And he hit just 13 home runs, eight fewer than last season.

But like a Detroit News headline read after the Tigers eliminated the Yankees on Thursday, Peralta has saved his best for the postseason.

Peralta is batting .343 in the playoffs, compared to just .189 in last year’s postseason. He’s gotten at least two hits in five of nine postseason games this time around.

His average in the series against the Yankees was .388. He hit 2-for-5 and had three RBI in last night’s elimination game. And he hit not one, but two home runs to help his team into the World Series.

But it’s not just his offense that’s been good in the playoffs, his defense has impressed too. 

Peralta’s defense in the sixth inning of Game 2 saved a Yankee run from scoring. He made a diving, barehanded grab of a ground ball hit by Mark Teixeira that would have allowed Ichiro Suzuki to score from second and give New York the lead. In that same inning, he barehanded a ground ball hit by Russell Martin to end the inning and stop the Yankees from scoring again.

He also made a couple of other impressive defensive plays in Game 1 that helped the Tigers sweep New York. 

Peralta has already helped the Tigers to get this far in the playoffs with his defense and postseason hitting. The World Series will be no different.

He may have been a disappointment in the regular season, but Peralta has come into this postseason with a goal that his teammates and fans can appreciate: to win. And with his help on both sides of the ball, that may just be what the Tigers do.

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