Game 8: Cabrera says his swing is “terrible”

Miguel Cabrera says he feels healthy. Let’s get that out of the way now.

He feels good. His defense at third base Friday in San Diego seems to back it up. His Spring Training performance at the plate and in the field definitely backed it up.

It’s his swing that is ailing.

“I’m feeling good,” he said, “but my swing is not right.”

His swing isn’t doing too well, physically or mentally — yes, mentally, because his swing seems to have a mind of its own.

It’s not as if Cabrera forgot that opposite-field power is his ticket to Cooperstown. He remembers virtually every pitcher he faces. How is he going to forget himself?

His swing forgets. His swing falls into bad habits, maybe habits he developed while playing hurt last year. His swing wants to keep his top hand on the bat, apparently.

“My swing, he wants to pull the ball right now,” Cabrera said.

His swing is seemingly worse than his statistics. For someone who endured an 0-for-21 slump in April the year he won the Triple Crown, an 8-for-32 start through eight games isn’t the end of the world. He’s 2-for-16 with a pair of singles over his last four games.

Here’s the thing: Everything he has hit over those four games have gone to the left side or up the middle. The closest he has come to going opposite field has a comebacker to the pitcher. He hasn’t gone oppo since he flew out to right on Saturday.

“In BP and when I work in the cage, I feel normal,” he said. “When I come into the game, I see how I pull a lot of balls to third base and shortstop.”

Asked if it’s more about mechanics or timing, Cabrera said both.

“My mechanics are terrible right now,” he said.

He’s less certain about where it comes from. He allows for the possibility that he developed bad habits last year that he’s having a hard time shaking, but again, he didn’t have the issue in Spring Training.

“I don’t know. Sometimes you have, like, bad habits,” he said. “I don’t know if I took that from last year when I got injured, but I feel good. My mechanics are not very good but hopefully I can keep working, trying to swing more consistently.”

That’s all he can do. He’s not going to panic, because he knows better, even if his swing doesn’t. He’s been stuck here tomorrow, even if the last few years suggest he’s been perfect.

“I mean, last year at some point, it was like that,” he said. “Every year, you have to make adjustments. You come through hard times once every year. It’s a hard game.”

Brad Ausmus wasn’t around for those hard times. He’s around now. He’s trusting his MVP hitter.

“I mean, hitters are going to go through periods of time where they hit the ball, they don’t hit the ball well, they get hits, they don’t get hits,” Ausmus said. “I realize it doesn’t happen to Miggy as often, but it’s still going to happen.”

When it happens, things can get ugly offensively, like they did Friday against Andrew Cashner and the Padres.

Play of the game: Again, it goes to Cabrera, who stepped to bat in the sixth inning with runners at the corners and one out. He swung a first pitch fastball that missed the outside corner and got a little more of the plate. Cabrera swung over top of it and grounded it to third, where Chase Headley started an inning-ending double play that erased the last runner the Tigers would get on base.

Outs of the game: Not only did Cashner strike out the side in order in the third inning, he did so on the same pitch, spotting three fastballs close enough to the outside edge for called third strikes to Rick Porcello, Rajai Davis and Ian Kinsler.

Line of the night: Duh. Cashner needed just 108 pitches to deliver a complete-game one-hitter with two walks and a career-high 11 strikeouts. Add in 13 ground-ball outs, and Cashner wasn’t losing this one.

Stat of the night: 53 — Strikes Not in Play (SNIPs) by Cashner, according to brooksbaseball.net and MLB.com’s Gameday application. Compare that to just 10 swings and misses, and it’s clear that location was the key for Cashner.

Print it: “I think Jim Leyland said it to me: You know a guy’s a basestealer when everyone in the stadium knows he’s trying to steal a base and he still does.” — Ausmus on Rajai Davis, who stole second and third base after breaking up Andrew Cashner’s no-hit bid with a sixth-inning single.

24 Comments

Glad I went to bed….

i wonder if the new batting coach will make a difference in how miggy works through this, and the level of success getting his swing back.

Welcome to 2014. It’s getting ugly out there.
1. Davis’s speed continues to impress. If we can only utilize it.
2. No excuses from Miggy. Right now he’s horrible, and he was man enough to admit it.
3. Miggy still plays third with strong aquittal. It proves that he is still a quality athlete.

Ricky couldn’t keep the ball down. It was batting practices for the Padres. The offense has lost it’s way. I hate late night games.

Greg

miggy’s last healthy hitting slump:
Apr 12 to Apr 16, 2012: 21PA, 0H, 2BB, 5SO

had a slump that august (19th-23th) but on the 23rd was lifted due to ankle injury

I didn’t see enough of Miggy’s ST ABs to see if anything was different and even if I had, he uses different swings anyway. I wouldn’t have noticed.
He definitely looks like someone protecting an injury he no longer has. Muscle memory from playing nearly half a season injured. As long as he’s healthy, he’ll figure it out. If you look at highlight videos, you see his top hand coming off the bat when he’s on a tear. I doubt he’s ever had to think about it.
One thing is for certain: when he’s not hitting, we’re not scoring much. 5-3 so far is good.

People thinking Porcello was throwing a slider tells you how bad his curveball was. He threw a few good ones. His 2-seamer didn’t bite down in the zone enough. He was fortunate to limit damage as long as he did. That was classic Rick when he doesn’t have it.
I didn’t go to bed early but let’s just say I was multi-tasking after the 6th inning. Cashner was very good.

Shut the game off but didn’t go to sleep. Watched Bulliitt w Steve McQueen and then I hear a text message. It was worse than I thought.

As far as Miggy, they are pitching him way outside and he just swings at everything. Not only is his swing bad, but he’s not seeing the ball well. Get well soon, Miggy! Go Tigers!!!

We are off to a similar pattern (3 things as Greg states) as last season, Tigers are losing the 1st game of the road series, getting behind early as our starters require that 1st inning or 2 to get their command and we always seem to face a Cy “someone” during each series. Let’s hope JV is on tonight! Could be a full house rooting on the Pad’s as they are giving away L/S T-shirts for today’s game.

Nothing fills up a ballpark quicker than free clothes.

As to the “talk” about Smyly being needed in the pen. I don’t like the idea much. Not that he wouldn’t improve it considerably but this is a young man who needs to be respected and given equal consideration to Porcello. Moving him to the pen would be very discouraging for him IMHO.
That being said, I would not be surprised to see that happen if Ray proves himself to be a quality SP in Toledo. That would be the ultimate insult for Drew.

Moving Smyly to bullpen would create equal or greater void in rotation. If they had a Jacob Turner in waiting, that would be one thing. But the current crop in Toledo isn’t ready yet. If you were going to bring one of those guys up, you might be better off putting them in bullpen and keeping Smyly in rotation.

Our team has already shown all its vulnerabilities. If our starting staff cannot perform as successfully as last year then all those vulnerabilities will be even more emphasized.

I sure like the way Romine handles his job defensively. How about trading Gonzo for some relief and suffering an offensive drought with Romine?

Definitely agree. Romine is above average defensively. Can’t hit for squat.

Greg

Romine has an absolute cannon for an arm. Good instincts, excellent range. The problem will be his stiff approach at the plate. His offense could make Ray Oyler look like Babe Ruth.

Was thinking last night that, other than Iggy, Romine is the best fielding SS we’ve had here in a number of years. If he could foul off some pitches and lay down bunts, we could maybe live with that.

Okay, now I’m reading that Porcello was throwing a slider. When did he re-add this “weapon” to his arsenal and more importantly, why?
I thought those were garbage two seamers last night. As Jim used to say, “I’m not a pitching coach.”

I thought they were just really flat curveballs. But what do I know :)
.
Good catch on the top hand staying on in Miggy’s swing. I hadn’t noticed it until you mentioned it earlier this week.
.
— Bob

tonight~
Davis LF, Kinsler 2B, Hunter RF, Cabrera 1B, Jackson CF, Castellanos 3B, Avila C, Gonzalez SS, Verlander P

will someone please get to the tiger coaching staff and make them watch film of the feeble at bats Avilia has been taking for almost 2 years now. He simply needs to learn to drop his back shoulder and level his swing off on any pitch at the belt or lower. He literally chops down on any pitch at belt level or below and that makes it impossible to drive any pitch. Another option is to widen his stance and squat lower than the upright stance he hits in. I haven’t played ball for 30 years but the fix for his horrible at bats is very obvious.

Alex’s looks real bad at the plate . His swing is way off .

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