Another game, another loss, this one just happened to nearly set an MLB record for futility.
Ausmus made two huge managerial blunders yesterday – not getting Salty in to the game via a double switch after his PH appearance, and not sending a red hot Castellanos up to bat. This seriously may be the best two month stretch of Castellanos’ career. And he can’t get a PH at bat under last night’s circumstances. Think about that.
Firing Ausmus doesn’t put us in the playoffs, but it may at least but the game back in the hands of the players.
I wanted to talk about Cabrera for a sec. Last week I heard Jim lamenting about how the ball doesn’t look to be coming off of Cabrera’s bat with the same velocity that we’re used to. He implied that Cabrera maybe had lost some power. We’ve seen this in the past when he’s had his core issues, but the understanding was that he was fully healthy this year. So what do the numbers tell us?
The first number to look at is is ISO. Isolated power is SLG – AVG, or basically extra bases per at-bat. Cabrera’s career ISO is .239, this year it’s .152, a marked decrease. In fact, last year’s .196 was the only season of his career below .200. His line drive rate this year is 25.3%, which is slightly above his career average of 22.1%, but based on Fangraphs’ soft speed/medium speed/hard speed metrics of his balls in play (provided by Baseball Info Solutions), he’s below his career average for hard, and above for soft and medium. This is a concern. Further, he’s going opposite field 35.4% of the time, vs. a career average of 28.3%. He’s only pulling the ball 34.3% of the time, which is a slight decrease from last year’s 35.8%, and well below his career 39.4% average.
It’s definitely expected that he’ll lose some power over time, and a more experienced hitter goes the other way more often, but the actual numbers are concerning. I’ll also point out that his 11.1% swinging strike rate is his highest since 2008, and well above last year’s 9.6% (something we would not expect from a more experienced hitter).
In a nutshell, less XBH, softer hit balls, and more swinging strikes. Not good indicators. He’s definitely earned the right to a larger sample size, but either he’s declining rapidly, or still injured.
Moya up (Hardy down), Upton still in the lineup – in CF. Baseball-Reference game preview here.
Daniel Norris is up as well, though he hasn’t pitched well in the minors.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. J.D. Martinez, RF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Justin Upton, CF
7. Steven Moya, LF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS