Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can They Stop Walking Miguel Cabrera Already?

Photo: AP

This was a nice bounceback start for Jeremy Bonderman. Again (I felt like I’ve said this a lot recently), I don’t think he had his best stuff. He threw quite a few hanging sliders up there that fortunately the Royals didn’t do much with, but he managed to sidestep it (against a team with more power, he might not have been able to, and that’s something he should keep in mind with his next slated opponent, the Blue Jays). The Royals did pretty much what their scouting report said they did: Hit mostly singles, not walk much, and not score a lot of runs. The bullpen did a nice job, though Eddie Bonine got hit pretty hard but escaped with only giving up one run.

Another part of the Royals’ scouting report came true: problematic pitching. Bruce Chen was too tentative and fell behind a lot of hitters. The bulk of the damage came against Jesse Chavez. Just about everyone had a good day at the plate. Meanwhile, according to Dan Dickerson, the last four times Miguel Cabrera has been walked intentionally (including this game), the guys behind him have come through. Every starter got at least one hit except Casper Wells and Austin Jackson. Ryan Raburn, Jhonny Peralta, and Brandon Inge all had three RBIs apiece. Of course, the big story surrounding the game was Johnny Damon. As of this writing, he had not yet decided whether to accept a deal to Boston or not (by the sounds of things, he’s all that stands in the way; the Tigers will not pull him back on their own). Granted, I am working so slowly on this thing that it’s very likely a decision will be announced before I am finished. When Damon signed, I approved of it, but I only saw him as a one-year stopgap. He hasn’t performed spectacularly in the Tigers, but he’s been decent, and his on-base percentage of .360 is definitely sound for the role he was intended for (table-setter, #2 hitter). I can’t quite figure out where he would fit in the picture for next year, but if the Tigers wanted to bring him back, I wouldn’t mind. But as far as this year is concerned, well, I just don’t get excited at the notion of letting the kids play it out. Plus, Miguel Cabrera’s still got an outside shot at the Triple Crown, and losing Damon (small of a protection as he may be) would make it all the harder for him. My personal feeling is that he should accept the deal if, and only if, the Tigers can pry away some hotshot super-prospect away from the Red Sox. A player to be named later or a middle reliever isn’t going to help much in the long run, and with all the money coming off the books next year, I doubt $1.8 million is going to be a deal breaker on any hypothetical free agent signing. In that case, I would much prefer to see Damon play out the season in a Tigers uniform. For what it’s worth, he is in tonight’s lineup.

Tonight’s matchup features Rick Porcello, who looked very good for five innings at Yankee Stadium and then fell apart in the sixth. He’s had his issues with the Royals in the past (though a large part of that was Mark Teahen, and he’s not with them anymore). He’s only faced the Royals once this year and got a no-decision in which he went six innings and gave up three runs, but ten hits (the Tigers eventually lost the game 7-3). The Tigers will face Kyle Davies, who has beaten them a couple times this year. It seems like every time they faced him, he either gets lit up or twirls a gem. There are some Tigers with some real good numbers against him. Cabrera, Peralta, Damon, and Raburn all hit over .300 against him, and Gerald Laird is not too far behind at .294 (though he is not in tonight’s lineup).

No comments:

Post a Comment