DETROIT -- Whatever happens with Brandon Inge and the Tigers this offseason, he has made a major impact in this city. One of the marks of his longevity, though, will be the times when he made no impact at all.
Inge would rather take an aggressive swing and risk a miss for the chance at doing some damage, rather than a defensive swing that won't do much if he makes contact. Given that, it's a little easier for him to live with the Tigers' franchise strikeout record.
Inge's swing and miss to end the third inning of Saturday's 11-10 win over the Twins was his 1,099th strikeout in a 10-year career comprised entirely in Detroit. The whiff tied him with former Tigers great Lou Whitaker for the franchise standard. Inge passed Whitaker in the eighth inning with his 1,100th strikeout, and he fanned one more time in the 11th. Inge did drive in the game-winning run, delivering an RBI single in the 13th.
Whitaker compiled his K's over a 19-year career that spanned 9,967 plate appearances. Inge's record-tying strikeout came in his 4,839th career plate appearance, the lowest total of anybody in the top six on the Tigers' all-time franchise list. Of course, Tigers greats Norm Cash, Al Kaline and Willie Horton round out the top five.
Inge doesn't fall into those categories, but he has been good enough that his manager has long since learned to live with the swings and misses.
"I think here's the key to that: As an organization and as a manager, you're supposed to know what you have," Jim Leyland said. "Would you like to see it cut down some? Yes. But you have to make a decision that you're willing to live with that or you're not, and I'm certainly willing to live with that. I think he's a heck of a player.
"That's Brandon Inge. If you're not satisfied with it, that's a decision you have to make. I'm satisfied with it. That's just the way it is."