October 27th, 2012

World Series Game 4: Tigers vs. Giants

The designated hitter is back, and so are Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks. In Dirks’ case, he returns to the sixth spot, lining up the batting order so that the Tigers alternate left- and right-handed hitters and the Giants have to play matchups a batter at a time rather than through a stretch.

When you think about the Giants’ three left-handed relievers, you think this is why Jim Leyland was excited as far back as the Prince Fielder press conference in January about the ability to go lefty-righty through the order.

Not a whole lot of history between the Tigers and Ryan Vogelsong, but Omar Infante’s numbers are impressive. Most of that comes from this season, when Infante was 6-for-8 off of him. All those hits were singles, but I imagine the Tigers will take that at this point to set up a baserunner for Austin Jackson.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Quintin Berry, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (1-for-5 off Vogelsong)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B (0-for-3 off Vogelsong)
  5. Delmon Young, DH (1-for-3 off Vogelsong)
  6. Andy Dirks, RF (0-for-3, 2 K’s off Vogelsong)
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS (1-for-2, 1 walk off Vogelsong)
  8. Alex Avila, C (0-for-1, 2 walks off Vogelsong)
  9. Omar Infante, 2B (7-for-11 off Vogelsong)

P: Anibal Sanchez

Cabrera has to get Hank Aaron Award today, right?

The winner of MLB’s annual Hank Aaron Award will be announced tonight before Game 3 of the World Series. It would be a shock if Miguel Cabrera isn’t the guy, having won the Triple Crown. But then, as a fan balloting award, nothing is guaranteed.

If Cabrera wins, he’ll be the first Tiger to win the honor, which has been in place since 1999, when MLB created it in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking the all-time home run record. The honor is intended to recognize the best offensive performer from each league in a given season — no defensive metrics, no overall Wins Above Replacement (though you could certainly factor in offensive WAR), no debate over a player’s value on a losing team or a contending one.

Prince Fielder has an award, but it came in 2007 as a Milwaukee Brewer. Cabrera has been a candidate more than once over his five seasons as a Tiger, but has never quite won it. Jose Bautista has taken the AL honor the last two years, but didn’t make the cut this time. Edwin Encarnacion is the Blue Jays’ nominee this year.

Voting took place from Oct. 10-16 at MLB.com. A special panel of Hall of Fame players — Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan and Robin Yount — joined fans and Hank Aaron himself in voting on the award.

Here’s the competition Cabrera faces, one nominee from each team:

  • Baltimore: Adam Jones (.287, 32 HR, 82 RBI, .839 OPS)
  • Boston: Dustin Pedroia (.290, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB, .797 OPS)
  • Chicago: Alex Rios (.304, 25 HR, 91 RBI, 23 SB, .850 OPS)
  • Cleveland: Shin-Soo Choo (.283, 43 2B, 16 HR, 67 RBI, 21 SB, .815 OPS)
  • KC: Billy Butler (.313, 29 HR, 107 RBI, .882 OPS)
  • LA Angels: Mike Trout (.326, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB, .963 OPS)
  • Minnesota: Joe Mauer (.319, 31 2B, 10 HR, 85 RBI, .861 OPS)
  • NY Yankees: Derek Jeter (.316, 32 2B, 15 HR, 58 RBI, .791 OPS)
  • Oakland: Josh Reddick (.242, 32 HR, 85 RBI, .768 OPS)
  • Seattle: Kyle Seager (.259, 35 2B, 20 HR, 86 RBI, .738 OPS)
  • TB: B.J. Upton (.246, 28 HR, 78 RBI, 31 SB, .752 OPS)
  • Texas: Josh Hamilton (.285, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .930 OPS)
  • Toronto: Edwin Encarnacion (.280, 42 HR, 110 RBI)

Cabrera picked up two honors on Friday. He was named the Sporting News Player of the Year, following Justin Verlander as the second straight Tiger to win the award, and became the first three-time winner of the Luis Aparicio Award as the best Venezuelan Major League player.

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