In an MLB.com article by David Just, we get a hint of an explanation. It sounds like there are personal problems afoot for our 2006 ALCS hero.
Jim Leyland says:
"He's got some other things on his mind."
We all know how personal problems can devastate a player's game, and rightly so. Baseball is only a game after all, and one that requires a lot of mental concentration. Amid personal ruin, I can imagine myself hunched over my computer alternately stifling sobs and sputtering angry words through clenched teeth, working at approximately .032 efficiency.
Just look at Pudge in 2005. The team stunk, he was going through a divorce, and that was a cocktail for utter chaos in the clubhouse for him. He hit. 276 in 2005, sandwiched between .334 in 2004 and .300 in 2006. Although he had a very good defensive year in 2005, I'm attributing his offensive blip to his personal problems. That is very sound logic, and there are no other factors that could have affected his plate production. I can hardly stifle my own rebuttal to that statement, but just go with it, okay?
Anyway, I'm worried about My Tiger. Hope everything's gonna be all right for him, both on and off the field.