Is Miguel Cabrera motivated by hitting slumps?
Miguel Cabrera’s batting average stood at .316 on June 19, before he went hitless in three straight games against the Cardinals and Pirates. He has gone 8-for-16 over his last four games to bring his average back up to .312, including his four-hit, two-RBI game Thursday night at Tampa Bay.
Asked about the performance, Jim Leyland had an interesting reaction.
“I like it when he’s about 2-for-12 and somebody starts writing about it,” Leyland said after the game, “because that usually wakes him up a little bit.”
I’m sorry, what?
“I don’t know if it did or not,” Leyland said when asked further, “but it seems to work.”
For what it’s worth, Cabrera’s skid was 0-for-15 before he homered off Brad Lincoln on Saturday in Pittsburgh. It was the second time this season that Cabrera had that long of a hitless stretch.
When Cabrera went five straight games hitless in an 0-for-22 skid, he bounced out of it with a 12-for-28 stretch with two homers and four RBIs. That was the second-longest hitless stretch of his career.
Is that what’s driving him? Hard to tell. While he has talked a little bit about the team, his comments about his own hitting have been limited lately. He responded in spring training when it was suggested by many that he couldn’t play third base. Nobody has been suggesting he can’t hit, even during his deepest of funks.
It’s also worth mentioning that Cabrera hits well at Texas. He’s a .369 (75-for-203) career hitter in Texas with a 1.014 OPS. However, he’s just a .264 career hitter at Tampa Bay (55-for-208). Yet his ninth-inning homer Thursday was his 11th lifetime at Tropicana Field, two more than he has at The Ballpark at Arlington.