Decisions loom large in approach to Cabrera

The good news for the Tigers, or the silver lining in their Game 4 loss, is that they finally have Miguel Cabrera back in the form where he’s arguably the most feared hitter in the league. The bad news for Detroit is that he didn’t get many chances to show it.

One chance vanished because of a daring move by Rangers manager Ron Washington. Another vanished by the Tigers’ own choice.

Out of 144 regular-season intentional walks for Cabrera’s career, only one came with the bases empty, that coming in 2007. But with one out in the eighth inning, Washington gave him one for his postseason career as well. After watching his Rangers relievers try and fail to pitch around him during this ALCS, Washington effectively took it out of their hands.

“We tried to pitch around Cabrera twice, and he got us,” Washington said. “So this time I wasn’t taking any chance. And it almost came back and bit me. But he’s the best baseball player out there. I mean, this guy can just do so much.”

It was Victor Martinez’s base hit that followed which almost brought Cabrera back to haunt them. But in the end, the injury-riddled lineup which Washington saw fit to face with Cabrera on base paid off for him once Delmon Young’s fly ball to medium depth right field set up Nelson Cruz to throw home and get Cabrera, who was sent home there rather than held for slumping Alex Avila.

The Tigers were effectively helpless there, though they could have pinch-hit for Young if they so chose and likely risked putting Don Kelly against lefty Darren Oliver. By contrast, the move that took the bat out of Cabrera’s hands in the 10th belonged to Austin Jackson.

It was his green light to try to steal after being hit by a pitch with one out, and he tried to take it. His manager defended him on it afterward.

“Absolutely,” Leyland said. I agreed with it 100 percent.”

But while it was an aggressive move, it’s hard to find the upside rewarding enough to make it the right move. If Jackson isn’t successful there, and he wasn’t, the Tigers risk  running themselves out of an inning. If he were successful, he would take away the double-play possibility for Ryan Raburn, but he’d almost surely take away an at-bat for Cabrera, who would’ve been intentionally walked with first base open. So while they would’ve had two at-bats with the winning run in scoring position, neither of them would’ve been with Cabrera at the plate.

19 Comments

I have just a feeling of sadness over that loss last night. In the 5th inning I really felt like we had the game, we only were up by 2 runs but Rick was pitching so great but should have known 2 (or 3) runs would not do it against this team. I do question the intentional walk in the 11th inning and I also question using Jose for 2 innings again. I of course have the luxury of hindsight but it just seemed like he had thrown a lot of pitches over 3 days and we know from experience that usually doesn’t bode well for him. That said, this game should have been won in 9 innings by us so that is not the only reason we lost.

Of course we send Miguel on that fly out – Delmon did his job, Cabbie is slow and the throw was dead perfect but you have to force the issue when scoring is at a minimum these days. When Inge hit that homerun I really thought we had it and would grab the lead and capture it. The bullpen for Texas is amazing, every time you look there is a guy warming up and a guy who you think “oh no, he is a tough one”. I don’t get that feeling when our bullpen warms up too much. I give AlAl a lot of props coming back from that 4 pitch walk to get the next guy, that could be a real confidence booster for the kid who a few months ago was overloaded with confidence.

Was impressed by VMart getting that hit after Miguel gets walked, showed a lot of moxy and it appeared he was hitting ok last night, not much found the ground but he seemed to be getting distance.

So it comes down to winning the next 3 games which is an uphill battle to say the least. We need 9 innings of shut out ball tonight to make me feel more at ease and again, HITTING!

Oh, and Benoit last night was simply amazing, that guy has been huge for us.

Yes, so many things to say. What stands out, Delmon needed a base hit. Yes, I send the runner and do not pinch hit. No way I let Jackson steal. He hasn’t tried in how long? Raburn last time up swings at a 3-1 pitch and hits a weak ground ball to short. This time he lets the perfect 3-1 pitch go and swings at ball four. So let’s say he does strike out and now Cabrera is up. No way I bring in Valverde until we have the lead. I really did enjoy watching the game. Should have turned on the radio because McCarver is so bad. The style of management won/lost this game. It;s not over. We can put together a win streak! Go Tigers!

do not “pinch run” and yes Cabby is slow……..

Jackson isn’t a good base stealer, never gets a good jump and is usually going back to 1st on the pitchers move to home. Dirks would’ve stolen that base.

I think the bigger play was Kinsler’s “steal” of 3rd. He was out, no question. Not only did the throw beat him, but Inge had blocked the bag. A terrible call. If the ump makes the right call, 2 outs, no one on, and most likely the game is 2-1 going into the 7th.

Sorry Port, I though Inge was too far on the front side of the base and Kinsler had his hand on the left field side. Kinda blocked the Ump. It was very close. A game of breaks and Texas is getting most of them.

You had to send Cabrera in the 8th and Jackson in the 10th. Texas just made the plays on those two.

Well, we certainly miss Magglio’s bat. Maybe a different outcome. Even if we win tonight, who is going to close?

WE have Justin, Max, and Doug. We need to score some runs. We still have a chance.That is why you don’t bring in Valverde. We needed that run in the 8th. Hey JV, do you have a complete game in you? Someone said you were tired. Prove them wrong! Go Tigers! –Dave

Tiger Girl everything you said is how I feel this morning. No need to rehash this. Really disappointed. By the way the sun is out in Royal Oak.

Do you think Kelly should have pinch hit for Young?

Me no, I don’t think you pinch run for Cabrera

By the way the weather forecast isva lot better for today. 20% chance of rain till 9:00 pm were it goes up to 90%

No, and the question you asked about pinch hitting, but still the answer is no, Young did his job, but Cabrera is slow and it was a perfect throw. None the less completely disappointing. I really had high hopes.

I thought kelly should have pinch hit… Delmons previous plate appearance looked like betemit (three straight swing and misses) no way you pinch run for cabby there just because you don’t want to get caught later in the game with someone other then cabrera up to the plate… the other thing that i thought was annoying was not having coke come in to start the 11th.. valverde had a quick inning, but you will need him later in the series. i thought walking beltre was a good idea becuase it set up an easy dp situation. i thought the should have walked cruz after napoli hit , but it didn’t matter….

All of these moves are magnified, and there were a lot of game changing moments. The fact is, 4 runs would have won all three of these games. A lousy 4 runs. I’ve said all along I don’t expect much offense, but to be held under 4 in three games is inviting disaster. And against LH pitching, no less. The strange thing is that a lot of the guys have had their good moments during the series, but spread out too much. I called Inge’s homer “the miracle shot.” There is a lot of pressure on hitters during the postseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington walked Cabrera everytime today. The others have to make him pay for that somehow. And they must get the series back to Texas. If nothing else, we’re identifying areas that need improvement for next year, such as a deeper bullpen.
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This is the exact same mood that prevailed after game 4 of the 1968 WS. Just saying.

Our post season problem appears to be rain – not many good outcomes of our rain-delayed games, so hoping today we play 9 straight innings and get the W.

Rich you are the eternal optimist for sure. You’re right though. It feels similar though I must admit ’68 was far more excruciating. In ’68 we had so much character on that club—not saying we don’t now but that club was a team that really knew how to play together. Much of that had to do with the longevity of their careers together.
Anyway, today’s boys seem like they have an uphill task and that they are not all pushing that stone up at the same time. A little disconnected. They just don’t seem to be on the same page to me, at least at the same time.
That being said, and keepin the vein of eternal optimism, if JV can shut them down and bolt the hatches today, everything changes. Then the Rangers will start to feel some pressure again. We have 3 pitchers who can stifle those bats. 3 good RHP who have a chance against thoe predominantly RHB.
All we can hope for is for truth to bear out the olda overused adage about good pitching beats good hitting.
And the holes in our team have become glaringly evident and need fixing for next year, whatever the outcome here.
I want my Tigers to win but I honestly don’t see this team being “great” enough to battle it’s way through this and a World Series. They are a good team and they have done very well for a team that can pretty much only go from 1st to 3rd on a double.
This is one area of drastic importance. If you have a team that leads the league in fewest stolen bases then to offset it you need a team that leads the league in homers. Hard to to do at Comerica Park. I have often said that DD has failed to build an offense that suits his home ballpark. I would expect he will be working on that.
Neither the time nor place to be talking about this, sorry.
Our pitchers need to throw the of the best games of their careers now.
They just might.

That is what these blogs are for. Opinions. Go read the Freep or Mlive. Half of them say they the series is over. Also being an eternal optimist and a die hard Tiger fan, it is not over. I was 11 in 1968 but remember all the hype of being down 3 games to 1. My teacher brought in a TV so we could watch the day game. One team will win, one team will lose. Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is!

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