Friday, May 24, 2013
To pitch or not to pitch to Miguel Cabrera?
By ESPN Stats & Information
Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown season was clearly not a fluke.
Cabrera has been even more dominant thus far this season.
After going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI in the Detroit Tigers’ 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins, Cabrera now has 14 homers and 55 RBI in 45 games this season.
Cabrera is on pace for 198 RBI, which would break Hack Wilson’s single-season RBI record of 191 in 1930.
Cabrera is the first player with at least 55 RBI in his team's first 45 games of a season since Manny Ramirez in 2001.
Cabrera joins Ramirez (2001), Jimmie Foxx (1932) and Chuck Klein (1930) as the only players in MLB history with at least 14 home runs and 55 RBI with a .390 or better batting average through their team’s first 45 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Entering Thursday, Cabrera had seen only five inside fastballs that were 86 MPH or slower this season.
Scott Diamond threw Cabrera four of those pitches in his first at-bat Thursday (four consecutive pitches), the last of which he hit for a home run (86 MPH fastball).
Cabrera’s homer came on a two-strike fastball. He’s hitting an MLB-best .432 this season on two-strike fastballs. His on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS also lead the league against those pitches.
With a runner on second base and one out and the game tied 6-6 in the eighth inning, the Twins intentionally walked Cabrera with a base open to get to Fielder.
That perhaps was a mistake.
Fielder hit an RBI single to give the Tigers the lead and ultimately the win.
Over the last two seasons -- since joining the Tigers -- Fielder is 8-for-16 (.500 BA) with 11 RBI following a Cabrera intentional walk.
This season alone, he's 3-for-4 with five RBI in those situations.
If you can’t walk him and he hits nearly everything, what is the best solution when facing Cabrera?
There’s probably no answer for that question.