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Published: Monday, 8/19/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Cabrera, Scherzer on rolls for ages

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

DETROIT — We can get too bogged down in the details.

First pitch or sixth pitch? Was it a fastball, slider, or curve? Up in the zone, in on the hands, or low and away? Was it hit to left or center or right or to one of those in-between alleys?

The bottom line: It doesn’t matter.

It matters not who is throwing it, which way the wind may be blowing, whether it’s day or night, cloudy or bright, first inning or the ninth.

There is no reining in Miguel Cabrera.

The Tigers trotted out the two surest things in baseball on a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.

There was the Max Factor. Starting pitcher Max Scherzer ran his record to a remarkable 18-1, scattering five hits over eight smooth innings in a 6-3 Detroit win over Kansas City.

He is the Cy Young Award favorite in the American League. It’s hard to imagine anyone or anything upstaging him.

But there is Cabrera, the best all-around hitter in the game who’s bidding for a second straight MVP Award if not, as preposterous as it sounds, for a repeat Triple Crown. He has 40 home runs now, 120 runs batted in, and is hitting an astonishing .360.

“We’re seeing two performances that are truly unbelievable; just mind-boggling,” Jim Leyland, the Tigers’ manager said. “I can’t really put it into words. They’re both on rolls you don’t see very often. How neat a year is this for Detroit baseball fans? When’s the last time a Detroit pitcher was 18-1? Ever? Never?

“This is 50 years [in baseball] for me and I’ve never seen anything like it, a pitcher and a hitter doing such unbelievable stuff at the same time. The fans here could go a lifetime without seeing this again.”

Scherzer, as usual, had his delivery in synch, attacked hitters, changed speeds, hit spots and struggled only in the seventh inning. Leyland was waiting for him at the dugout steps when he came off, but Scherzer talked the skipper into another inning and produced a 1-2-3 effort in the eighth.

Then there’s Cabrera. He has no out pitch. He has no weak zone. You know how TV likes to show those graphics of a batter’s zones, red for hot, blue for cold? Cabrera has no blue. Only the pitchers are blue.

When will they stop pitching to him?

Kansas City manager Ned Yost finally ran up the white flag Sunday in the fifth inning.

He’d seen Cabrera hit a walk-off home run to right on the final pitch of Saturday night’s game and a two-run shot to left-center on the first pitch he saw in the series finale.

“Last pitch, first pitch,” Leyland said. “That’s unheard of.”

In the third inning, after a ground-rule double by Torii Hunter, Miggy stroked a sharp single to left-center for a 3-0 Detroit lead. Then, in the fifth, with a run in and another Tiger runner in scoring position, Yost got it right. He ordered Cabrera intentionally walked.

“There are guys who are more athletic, who are younger, run faster, but nobody can hit like he does and with the power he does,” Yost said of Cabrera. “He’s the best in all of baseball.”

Nobody is arguing.

“A manager can get caught up in a lot during a game," Leyland said. "Tony LaRussa called the other day and told me to make sure I enjoyed this.”

It’s good advice for everybody.

Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: dhack@theblade.com or 419-724-6398.



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