Miguel Cabrera mistakes himself for a runner with speed and is tagged out at home for the final out of the fourth inning.
Every player has his kryptonite.
With Shin-Soo Choo, for instance, it’s left-handed pitchers. With Josh Hamilton, it’s injuries. With Tanner Scheppers, it’s baseball.
With the Tigers Miguel Cabrera, apparently, it’s base running. The guy has absolutely no trouble getting on base. It’s knowing what to do once he is on base that seems to be a huge problem.
Four times last night he made critical base running errors to cost the Tigers dearly.
In a 2-0 game, every base running mistake is magnified.
Don’t get me wrong here. Miguel Cabrera is the greatest hitter of our generation. Since moving to Detroit in 2008, he is either first or a very close second in every single major offensive category. Every single one. HRs, RBIs, AVG, OBP, OPS, XBHs. It’s all Cabrera, all the way.
He is a walking triple crown.
Last night he hit three doubles to raise his average to .363. When he got to second, though, he decided he’d use his time share points and stay a while. Which the Rangers really appreciated.
It wasn’t his base running blunder when he got doubled off second in the sixth inning for a critical, costly inning-ending double play, that saved the Rangers. It was his three base running errors in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With his team down 2-0, Cabrera led off the inning with a double. Victor Martinez then hit a ball to the deepest part of the field, which Delino DeShields somehow tracked down.
Any runner in that situation, who was paying attention, would have easily gotten to third on that play. Miguel Cabrera, it seems, was busy texting or something and didn’t look up from his phone to see he could have taken an extra base.
Huge break for the Rangers and Colby Lewis. Because the next batter, JD Martinez, hit a long fly ball to right that would have scored Cabrera, assuming he would have been paying attention at third, which is a big assumption, because he wasn’t paying attention once again, and didn’t tag up and move to third.
So when Nick Castellanos stepped up, there were two outs, a runner still at second, his team still down 2-0.
He singled to Will Venable in left.
At that point, somehow Miguel Cabrera got in his head that he was suddenly Delino DeShields. Rather than stopping at third, where he should have been twice already anyway, he turned on the after burners, which for him look more like Fred Flintstone desperately trying to get traction and make his car move, and unwisely broke for home.
He was thrown out at the plate, easily, to end the inning, and, really, end any threat that Colby Lewis would have the rest of the game.
It was a game in which Colby Lewis earned his league leading 14th win. In which the Rangers countered Thursday night’s shutout with a shutout of their own. In which Miguel Cabrera’s cape showed signs of wear. And in which the Rangers evened the series on this critical ten-game stretch at 1-1.
Not bad considering they’ve scored just two runs in two games.
Let’s hope offense isn’t the Rangers kryptonite from here on out. Colby Lewis cannot pitch every game.