Miguel Cabrera missed a two-game series to hold his wife's hand as she birthed their second kid. Friday he returned to the lineup and smashed three homers — one the other way — proving how much the Tigers fall apart like a papier-mâché centerpiece without him. Let's look at how massively good this cat is.
Opposite Field Home Runs (through May 28 games)
Cabrera, Tigers: 5
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: 4
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 3
Casey McGehee, Brewers: 3
Strangely enough, righthanded hitters are more prone to going the other way, as these four gentlemen are all righties.
9th Inning Home Runs (through May 28)
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 4
Cabrera, Tigers: 4
Adam Lind, Blue Jays: 3
Ryan Doumit, Pirates: 3
Rod Barajas, Mets: 3
Anyone is free to write an article lauding the ageless Konerko on his revitalized power, but most White Sox fans are still learning how to write. So let's look at Miggy's ninth inning heroics:
April 7 — In a surprising pitcher's duel between Max Scherzer and Luke Hochevar in Kansas City, Royals lockdown closer Joakim Soria was given a 1-0 lead and fanned the first two batters. With two strikes, Cabrera muscled a ball that clanged off the opposite-field foul pole. The Royals would go onto win in extras … again, let's forget about this.
April 21 — In Anaheim, Brian Fuentes was protecting a 3-2 lead in the ninth. But Cabrera, leading off, cranked a no-doubter off the Angels' Aggro Crag-type rock formation for a 468-footer. Now this game the Tigers would win.
April 26 — On this same road trip, Cabrera was up in the ninth in Texas with the scored tied 6-6. Another promising young closer, Neftali Feliz, hurled a mistake to Cabrera with the go-ahead run and the Tigers would defeat the Rangers.
May 29 — The situation was a little worse. A two-run deficit. Gasp. Cabrera was the first one up and smashed a solo homer to left field, but that's all Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey would allow for the save.
Miguel Cabrera doesn't get enough credit for being a pure hitter. He's big, bulky, and plays first. We see these sluggers everywhere and they're rather interchangeable. Also, his shameful exploits at the end of last season landed him in the doghouse of public opinion. But with power to all fields, hopefully Cabrera gets his dues in the All-Star voting. Teixeira and Youkilis are both splendid, but true story: there are more baseball players beyond the AL East.