You might have to wipe your eyes to actually believe what you see. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, two of the most imposing hitters in baseball, actually pulled off a double steal during the Detroit Tigers’ 9-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sunday. Sure, they got some help when catcher Carlos Santana dropped the ball on his exchange, but that was definitely unexpected. It was Prince’s first stolen base of the season and Miggy’s third. Cabrera probably would have been thrown out at third had Santana fielded the ball cleanly, but Prince probably would have had second stolen. Did you see the huge lead he got at first? Cabrera also went 4-for-4 with a home run in the loss. He leads all MLB hitters with a .368 average and 90 RBIs. And as you can see from the screenshot, he got a big kick out of the double steal.
Things got heated between the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and slugger Miguel Cabrera was at the center of the drama. It all started on Saturday, when Rays closer Fernando Rodney was struggling with his control in the tenth inning and threw a pitch up and in to Cabrera. That’s right, the tenth inning.
For whatever reason, Cabrera thought Rodney was trying to hit him intentionally in a tie game in extra inning with no outs. Cabrera barked at Rodney a bit, but nothing happened. On Sunday, Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello came up and in on Ben Zobrist in the first inning and hit him on the shoulder. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was not pleased.
“I thought it was absolutely uncalled for and hopefully the league will take a look at that,” Maddon said, via MLB.com’s Sam Strong. “That’s totally premeditated. There’s no question about that.
“We didn’t hit anybody. I want that to be duly noted. When this is all processed, I would hope that people process it properly.”
Zobrist agreed that Porcello hit him intentionally, noting how Cabrera is awfully “sensitive” for someone who is considered the best hitter in baseball.
“I think it was pretty clear in everyone’s minds that it was intentional after the things that were said last night,” he said. “It was at my face. I was fortunate to get out of the way enough to only get hit in the wrist. I would expect a little bit better after the words that were said.”
Cabrera got his revenge — even though none was needed — on Sunday when he smashed a towering home run into the rays tank in center field. Maddon joked about that feat after the game and praised Cabrera’s ability, but he also criticized him for complaining.
“The rays were in danger,” Maddon said. “He could have gotten a phone call or a letter from some activist group, I’m sure. It was a helium ball. I don’t debate this guy is outstanding. He’s wonderful. I just wish he wouldn’t cry so much.”
I second that. Zobrist is mostly likely right about Cabrera being frustrated that he struck out on Saturday in a crucial situation. He may be the best hitter in MLB, but he’s not good enough that someone would hit him to lead off the tenth inning of a tie game.
The Detroit Tigers slugger took a breaking ball from Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson to deep right-center field in the fourth inning Sunday, and the ball made a splash landing in the middle of the 10,000-gallon tank. The only other player to make a splash hit into the rays tank was Luis Gonzalez in 2007.
The home run by Cabrera — his 25th of the season — accounted for the only Tigers run in a 3-1 loss. Cabrera continues to lead the AL in two of the three triple crown categories, and remains six home runs behind Chris Davis, who also homered on Sunday.
The Tigers also settled a score with the Rays by hitting Ben Zobrist in the first inning. They felt that was payback for Rays reliever Fernando Rodney throwing at Cabrera’s head the previous night. The Rays did not retaliate.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Jose Alvarez did not allow a hit until the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday, at which point Ryan Raburn spoiled the party. Raburn’s solo home run was the first hit of the day for Cleveland, and one of his former teammates was not pleased about it.
As Raburn was rounding third during his home run trot, Miguel Cabrera chucked his gum at the outfielder. In any other situation, the runner may have charged at the gum-thrower. Since Miggy and Raburn played together in Detroit from 2008-2012, Raburn simply smirked and kept on going.
That Miggy sure does love screwing with his opponents.
Miguel Cabrera and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Roberto Hernandez had a bit of fun with each other during the Detroit Tigers’ 5-2 win on Thursday.
Hernandez (FKA Fausto Carmona) allowed Cabrera to go 2-for-3 when they faced each other, but it was the one time he got Miggy out that led to the fun.
To set the scene, you have to understand the pitch sequence for Cabrera’s first at-bat.
Cabrera singled in his first at-bat against Hernandez after going to the opposite field on a two-strike changeup away. Hernandez started off Cabrera with two hard sinkers inside and then went to junk after that, which proved to be a bad decision. In the next at-bat, Hernandez wisely went right back to the sinker and struck out Cabrera.
Hernandez threw Miggy four straight 90+ mph inside sinkers. Then, on the 2-2 pitch, he fooled Cabrera by throwing an 84 mph changeup. Miggy could be seen smiling as he walked away from the dish, probably because it’s not often that he gets fooled. Hernandez was also smiling knowing that he got over on Miggy in that at-bat:
Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball. You already knew that. He has no weakness in his swing, he doesn’t slump, and he can hit almost any kind of pitch. And he can hit those pitches with power.
You may remember last month when an awesome Yu Darvish GIF made its way onto the Internet. The GIF showed Darvish throwing six pitches and where those pitches traveled in the strike zone. The GIF was mesmerizing.
The creator of the GIF, Drew Sheppard, is back at it again.
Writing for Fangraphs, Sheppard put together a GIF and images that show Cabrera homering on pitches in all different parts of the strike zone. Here’s his explanation of the GIF:
The footage has been synchronized to the time of contact and stabilized at home plate to represent the end location of each pitch as accurately as possible. The pitches are taken from the last year, with the furthest off the plate over nine inches inside.
In, out, down, up, Miggy can homer on any pitch.
Sheppard has more images and a description at Fangraphs, so check those out for more.
Miguel Cabrera is in search of another Triple Crown with the Detroit Tigers this year, and he certainly doesn’t need any help from his opponents along the way. Cabrera has hit five home runs in his last three games and has 13 on the season. Had it not been for a little assistance from Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Bourn, his total would be sitting at 12.
Cabrera hit a fly ball to deep center field in the eighth inning of Wednesday night’s 11-7 win that looked like it was playable for Bourn. Instead, it bounced off his glove and popped over the fence for a two-run homer that padded Detroit’s lead.
We know one Philadelphia Phillies outfielder who knows exactly how Bourn feels, but at least his flub came during spring training. Handing a home run to one of the best players in the league during the regular season has to sting a bit.