Detroit Tigers: 26-19, 2nd Place (.5 behind Cleveland)
At this particular moment in time the best hitter in baseball walks the earth in a Tiger uniform with a big number 24 on the back.
Once again, for the 6th time in the past 4 games, Miguel Cabrera cleared the fence and led the Tigers to a 4th consecutive victory (well, that was the 3rd–tonight is the 4th), a come from behind 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins. The impressive thing about the recent Cabrera home run barrage is that they have been mostly to center, on pitches that have been spread around the strike zone.
For an impressive graphic depiction of how well Miguel Cabrera covers the plate with power, take a look at this fascinating piece on Fangraphs, where Drew Sheppard takes 6 Cabrera home runs and combines them into one composite gif. You will not watch it only once.
Of course Cabrera didn’t win the game single-handedly. For the fourth consecutive game, Prince Fielder knocked in a run following a Cabrera walk. He may have popped up in every other at bat in the game, but if Fielder continues to hit consistently following Cabrera walks, things will work out very well indeed.
The bottom of the order continued to contribute (I’ll throw temporary leadoff man Omar Infante in that group); in fact the Tiger 7-9 hitters are now 3rd best in the AL with a .718 OPS, and 2nd with a .268 BA. Really the only weak spot in the lineup right now is the 5th spot, and if Martinez regains his form this team will plate a lot of runs.
The icing on the cake for last night’s game was the quick and efficient job by Jose Valverde to close the game out. This was by far the best outing by Papa Grande v. 2.0; he had both velocity and location–Pena barely moved his glove. This is the first time this season I felt like this Valverde thing might actually have a chance of working.
Today’s Player of the Pre-game: Omar Infante. Infante just keeps hitting. His 3-for-5 night last night brought his average up to .323, and his Comerica average up to a ridiculous .429. Cabrera, eat your heart out (a mere .402). A couple times on base in front of Cabrera will put the pressure on the Twins.
Today’s First-Time-For-This-One Lineup:
- Dirks, LF
- Infante, 2B
- Cabrera, 3B
- Fielder, 1B
- Martinez, DH
- Peralta, SS
- Avila, C
- Kelly, CF
- Garcia, RF