Ausmus on Cabrera: “Everything isn’t in sync”
In most seasons, a 3-4 West Coast trip is about average for the Tigers. As well as the Tigers have played on the road this year, it stands out.
When the Tigers score two runs over the final three games of the trip against an Angels rotation that didn’t include Jered Weaver for the series, it definitely stands out.
Miguel Cabrera drove in one of the two runs with an opposite-field homer that resembled his classic swing. It was part of 9-for-21 stretch over the first five games of the trip. He went 0-for-9 to end the series, including 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Sunday — one of them on a 73 mph changeup from lefty Hector Santiago — to end the trip at 9-for-29 with two home runs, six RBIs and six strikeouts.
His average is back at .309, which is where it stood when the trip began. It’s more the look on the swings that is being scrutinized right now than the numbers.
“He’s scuffling a little bit right now,” manager Brad Ausmus said after Sunday’s 2-1 loss. “Hopefully DHing today, not standing out in the field helps and he gets his legs back with a day off tomorrow. I think he’s kind of been a little frustrated all year because of the post-surgery. Everything isn’t in sync for him. He’s having trouble syncing right now. I think the surgery probably is the root cause of it, maybe going all the way to the end of last year when he wasn’t swinging like he normally was to protect the injury.
“It can take time. I think it’s some of the side effects of all that.”
Cabrera isn’t getting into the surgery recovery, and hasn’t since his quotes from USA Today’s Jorge Ortiz at the All-Star festivities. His disagrees with the notion that he’s frustrated at the plate, and he understandably feels like the results are pretty good.
There are certainly additional reasons for the Tigers’ offensive funk the last few days, including the Martinezes cooling off. Still, the spotlight in this offense is on Cabrera, and largely has been since the comments over the break.
Is he hitting like normal? No.
Is he in a freefall? No.
He’s somewhere in between. And as the Tigers schedule gets busy (20 games in 20 days coming up, including a three-city road trip in early August), it’ll be up to Ausmus to decide whether to rest him a day or two over the course of the upcoming stretch.