Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera takes a swing at the Macomb Battle Cages Wednesday afternoon at Clinton Twp.
Detroit Free Press
Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t want anyone to worry him. For a single player, a 2-for-22 start to the season is no big deal.
“It’s just one of those things,” Gardenhire said before Thursday’s game. “He’s going to find his swing, he’s got some holes. Once he does that, he’s going to leave.”
He was referring to Miguel Cabrera, a Triple Crown winner, two-time and 11-time All-Star American Championship MVP.
And in fact, he didn’t need to find “any holes” in the Kansas City Royals’ change out of a six-man twice.
[ Tigers observations: Two Cabrera homers not enough in 5-3 loss to Royals ]
He hit the ball on everyone – twice.
Despite Cabrera’s two runs, and another from second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the Tigers fell, 5-3, to split the four-game series and fell to a 4-3 overall.
“I worry about a lot of things,” Gardenhire said after the defeat. “I don’t worry about it.”
But Cabrera, 37, was personally starting to get a little worried, said right-handed pitcher Ivan Nova. After all, he entered the series finale – with 10% of the season already in the books – hitting .091 with one homer and two RBIs.
Nova recalled a conversation with Cabrera on Wednesday after going 0-for-4 with a single strike.
“I don’t know,” Cabrera told Nova. “I feel good, but I’m not leaving the ball the way I want.”
“It’s better than the day before, so you’ll keep moving,” Nova replied, “and the ball will start jumping out of your bats.”
[ From Wednesday night: This is perfect team for Casey Mize, other prospects ]
On Thursday, Cabrera recorded his 40th multi-homer game of his career and the first since Sept. 30, 2016. His first run in the game came against 23-year-old Brady Singer, which left a slider up in the area. Cabrera drove it 356 feet the opposite way to tie the game 1-1 in the first inning.
In the eighth, resting Ian Kennedy passed his ball after two fastballs. The 78 mph pitch was just what Cabrera wanted, and he crushed on a line in the Tigers bullpen on the left.
“That was really good to see,” catcher Austin Romine said. “He went on a few balls, going oppo and drawing one.”
Although the Tigers lost, Cabrera went off the field with an average of .154, three homers and four RBIs in the season – much more encouraging than a few hours earlier, especially with a 60-game schedule.
“He’s got a little or something else, but the guy is still hungry there,” said Nova, who raised 5 innings of a two-run ball with three attacks. “He knows what needs to be done there.”
[ Tigers’ Cabrera shows up slimmer, which could mean big things this season ]
Before Nova came to the Tigers this summer, he spent seven years with him New York Yankees (2010-16), three with s Pittsburgh Pirates (2016-18) and one with s Chicago White Sox (2019), with 237 appearances, including 32 Cabrera plate appearances. The Tigers slugger has a .259 / .375 / .444 career line against Nova, including one home and four RBIs.
Nova was pitching in the AL for Cabrera’s MVP and Triple Crown effort in 2012 as well as for his repeated MVP season in 2013.
But since then, Nova has seen the injuries as well. He understands that Cabrera has not made the All-Star Games since 2016. He knows that one of the best right-wing players of his generation will not be able to put numbers like he did in his late 20s.
“But he’s so smart,” Nova said. “He knows what to do, and he doesn’t try to do too much.
“You don’t take one man, that’s the first thing. It takes all of us to do our part, but when you have a man like Miggy, you always want him to walk in the box and be the man to lead us.”
It seems Cabrera is ready to do it.
Maybin on IL
The Tigers put outfielder Cameron Maybin on the injured list Thursday after the veteran race his quad legging outside inside in the ninth inning of Thursday’s loss.
The 33-year-old has been hitting .214 in 14 bats this season. This season is his third stint with the Tigers – he was the team’s top draft pick in 2005 and eventually traded to the Marlins in the 2007 offseason that brought Cabrera to the Tigers – after signing a one-year deal. in the offseason.
Evan Petzold is an intern who reports sports at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.