There’s an ongoing debate as I write this column today about who should be the American League MVP and who means more to their teams. Arguments can be made for Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and of course our own Miguel Cabrera.
Since Cabrera has come to Detroit our Tigers have been a different team. Not only has Cabrera provided offense that we haven’t seen in many years, but he has also provided others in the lineup with the ability to get better pitches to hit. Everyone in the lineup with Cabrera will just honestly be better hitters because nobody wants to see Cabrera all the time with men on base.
Put very simply: Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter I have ever seen. Why?
He has got the quickest hands for a hitter I have ever seen. He also is smart. Folks, there is not enough consideration for how smart he is as a hitter. The guy is one of the few hitters who can actually set up a pitcher when it counts. I have not seen anyone do that as well since Al Kaline. There are lots of hitters in the world, but very few Al Kaline’s or Miguel Cabrera’s. They know the game and understand the nature of pitching. Compare Cabrera with the rest of the league and you’ll see that he hits the ball better than anyone else, and by the way he hits the ball harder than anyone I’ve ever seen.
I believe ever since Cabrera got to Detroit he’s been the MVP. Last season he was a huge reason why the Tigers won their division by 12 games, and he had several clutch hits that helped Justin Verlander win his 24 games. Cabrera had a great September last season (as he’s doing this year) too. Last September he roared away with the batting title after a great September. He’s won a batting title, home run title, and RBI title as a Tiger BEFORE this season!
Let’s look at context. If you take Cabrera out of our lineup, we’re chopped liver, but if you take Trout out of the Angels lineup they would still be very competitive.
Neither the Tigers or Angels would be where they are without their MVP candidates. Yes, Cabrera falls short defensively at third base, and of course Trout is another Mickey Mantle in center field, he’s as good a center fielder as I have seen. Cabrera on the other hand has had a pot full of errors but I think we all agree that he has been a lot better than any of us thought he’d be.
I’m a “homer” when it comes to this debate. The AL MVP must be Cabrera.
On Scherzer’s tired arm
Max Scherzer is a real mystery to me. How does a pitcher leave a game that means so much after just two innings because of a “tired arm”? He had every medical test known to the world of medicine and nothing was wrong with his arm. That doesn’t makes any sense.
Every pitcher in the major leagues gets tired at the end of the year. Me, Mickey Lolich, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, and dozens of others, had tired and sore arms, but we all went out and pitched when it really counted. Who knows when the next time will be that the Tigers will be in a position to get to the World Series?
If we find out that he has an injury, we will visit that at that point, but to leave the mound for being tired in a must-win game is unforgivable. Especiallu since Max has been the team’s best pitcher this year. Makes me wonder what other reasons could there be for Scherzer leaving that game? I don’t even want to suggest to anyone what I believe could be the reason he left the game.
On Jim Leyland
I can’t believe that Jim Leyland is fighting for his job.
GM Dave Dombrowski constructs the big league roster, and the players have not (in some cases) had real major league experience. Jim has had to manage too many first year players. First year players need bench time to get use to the majors. They need to be worked into the game and learn how the game is played. But now is not the time to give newbies a chance to learn the game.
At times it appears that we have more suspects playing than we do prospects.
Terry Francona is the rumor to replace Jim. Come on, forget it. Jim can still do the job but no one wins without players. Francona is a good guy but don’t lose sight of what happened in Boston, where they say he lost total control of the clubhouse, and believe me that is like a spear in the heart.
I believe for whatever reason, Jim has not stressed fundamentals. We may not always agree with Jim, but it’s his butt on the line.
The “Art of Pitching”
I think the most disappointing part of this club besides the obvious defensive issues, is the lack of ability by our guys to play the game correctly and artfully. the Tigers don’t play the game well: we miss double plays, we miss cut-off men, we have a horrible problem with bunting and running the bases, and our pitchers do not pitch artfully.
What do I mean by pitching “artfully”? In other words, they throw way too many pitches when they have a hitter in a hole. Whatever happened to coaching and preparing a pitcher to “pitch” properly? Sometimes I think Tigers pitchers throw pitches just to throw pitches. A pitch should never be thrown without a reason. Detroit catchers have a lack of experience, so they don’t know the difference, which leaves the pitchers to throw wasted pitches.
How many times have we seen one of our pitchers get a hitter in an 0-2 count and then all of a sudden the count is 3-2? Way too many. This is the reason that our staff throws way too many pitches, no one wants to throw strikes and pitch to a hitters weaknesses for some reason, I just don’t get it. But I will tell you this: that there are certain solemn rules that every pitcher must follow and the good ones do follow, we have ignored them here and I have been preaching about the lack of the “Art of Pitching” for years.
What is frustrating for me as a former player and fan is that the Tigers have some very talented pitchers and yet, most of them have tossed over a 100 pitches before the end of the 7th inning. Does that make sense if you are throwing strikes?
I think also that pitchers are now paying too much attention to the radar gun. I think the gun gets in their head and then they start throwing for the gun rather than pitching. Someone – a former SUCCESSFUL PITCHER – must come in here and explain the “Art of Pitching” to Tigers pitchers. Until that happens, success will be spotty at best and the consistency that is required will not be there to do the job.