DETROIT -- Prince Fielder entered Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Thursday night with one extra-base hit, a double, in his 8-for-33 postseason performance. He has gone without an RBI for 16 postseason games since the opener of last year's ALCS, a drought that ranks 16th longest in Major League history. He has gone homerless since Game 4 of last year's AL Division Series in Oakland.
Fielder has hit in the postseason. He just hasn't hit like his normal self. His manager, however, came to his defense on Thursday.
"I think that people are looking for faults, but he's actually gotten some hits in this series, and really hasn't swung the bat all that bad," said Jim Leyland.
"I think a lot of people, when they think of Prince, they think of home runs, and he doesn't have a home run. But we've never asked Prince to hit home runs. We just want Prince to produce. That's what we got him for, and that's what he's done since he's been here."
One factor Leyland cited was Miguel Cabrera's limited mobility with his groin injury, slowing him on the basepaths. With his ability to take an extra base severely limited, Leyland said, it takes more to drive him in for a run.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less