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Miguel Cabrera blasts walk-off home run as Tigers defeat the Royals

Aug 17, 2013, 11:55 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

It was, as baseball endings go, about as predictable as they come. Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera led off the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 5-5. He was 1-for-4 to that point with an RBI single. Entering the night with a .450 on-base percentage, simply reaching with a single or a walk would have sufficed with Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez waiting in line. But Cabrera, as he has done so often over his career and especially lately, took matters into his own hands. Ahead in the count 3-1, Cabrera blasted Royals reliever Aaron Crow‘s 96 MPH fastball over the right field fence for a walk-off home run, his 39th long ball of the season.

It was a back-and-forth game all night long, with the Tigers going up 3-0 after two, then the Royals tying the game at three apiece in the fourth, and then with both teams pecking away at each other throughout the rest of the game for a run at a time. Royals starter Wade Davis could not escape the fourth, while the Tigers bullpen could not hold the fort down after starter Doug Fister exited after six innings.

As Orioles first baseman did not homer tonight, Cabrera now trails him by just five home runs, 44-39. Cabrera leads in RBI at 117-113, and in batting average, .358 to Mike Trout‘s .331. Cabrera may still win a second consecutive Triple Crown.

With the win, the Tigers bolster their lead over the third-place Royals in the AL Central to 7.5 games.

  1. footballfan01 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Other than the endemic squalor and crippling depression of their city, I’m really jealous of Detroit fans for getting to witness Miggy in his prime.

    • philliesblow - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:54 AM


      • footballfan01 - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:04 AM

        Gimme a break … like you don’t know your city is the taint of the United States.

    • corecontrarian - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM

      I would venture to guess that probably anywhere from 2-3% of people in the seats at Comerica Park at any given time are residents of the City of Detroit. Tigers fans for the most part are not City of Detroit residents.

  2. thekingdave - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    But, but, but… Mike Trout could have stolen a base in the 4th inning today which proved inconsequential. Or caught a fly ball which the average MLB CF(according to baseball reference, or was it fangraphs?) should have gotten to.

    • eightyraw - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:30 AM

      Great point. Mike Trout has never hit a home run.

  3. tigers182 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Clearly this is not a story. The real games are played on computers. WAR is the only true measurement of a great player. Move on people, nothing to see here….

    • eightyraw - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:32 AM

      Nope, the only true measurement is finding one specific incident and drawing larger conclusions from it.

  4. coloradogolfcoupons - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    WAR!!! What is it good for? Absolutely NUTTIN…or so the old song went. It’s good for the stat geeks, but personally, I’m like the old fashioned weatherman who says “Screw the $2 million computer, lets open the window and see what it’s doing outside”

    Now, WAR is another tool to evaluate players, and I’m sure Billy Beane and his gang of like minded Moneyballers are thrilled to have it, but I loved baseball for 50 years before WAR was invented and don’t plan on getting a GM job anytime soon, so I’ll just turn on the tube and watch a game and see what’s happening outside at the old ballpark. Kinda like it better than arguing about stats on the net.

    • Ben - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      You must be pretty old. The foundations of offensive WAR were laid out in 1915 when FC Lane wrote an early version of wOBA.

    • eightyraw - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:42 AM

      Have you ever tried to compare/rank two or more players? If yes, then you used some personal version of WAR. However, I bet your method severally lacks consistency (because this is human nature) – it likely changes all the time. Formulas for WAR force us to stick to specific criteria and apply said criteria consistently to the entire population.

      I don’t understand the idea that people with an inclination towards baseball stats don’t love watch to baseball. If that’s the case then why would they dedicate so much time to the numbers involved?

    • themuddychicken - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      I love the new stats that are more useful at telling you what’s going on than the older stats. That doesn’t preclude me from enjoying watching the game with my own eyes, it’s the best.

  5. aceshigh11 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Cabrera is a BEAST. There are some things that stats just can’t quantify.

    • eightyraw - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:33 AM

      Like what?

      • dhakadabay - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:49 AM

        TWTW, obviously

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Look, I’m not any SABR or anything…I think advanced stats are fascinating and ARE useful.

        I just don’t think WAR is the one end-all, be-all stat that should be used to evaluate a player, because that’s the only one that justifies giving Trout the MVP.

        He’s an amazing player, and will only get more amazing as he gets a couple more years under his belt. I simply think what Miggy is doing offensively is mind-blowing.

        You can definitely make a case for Trout and, to a lesser extent, Chris Davis. All three are awesome, but I’d give the edge to Miggy.

    • paperlions - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      No one thinks WAR is the end-all be-all….but what it does do is try to include as many contributions to winning and losing as possible….and it does so far better than ignoring defense and base running and most offensive contributions that are not BA/HR/RBI. Cabrera is easily the best offensive player in the game right now, but his other contributions generally decrease his teams ability to win. That doesn’t mean he isn’t awesome, he is; but you also can’t ignore those facts.

      • eightyraw - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        I love this argument about not believing WAR is the “end-all, be-all stat” especially when it isn’t even one stat – it’s a framework. No one views WAR in this manner, but detractors love making this point.

        As for AcesHigh11 description of Miggy’s offensive contributions as “mind-blowing,” I’d like to remind him that just over 10 years ago Barry Bonds strung together four seasons with wRC+ greater than 210.

      • paperlions - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        The people currently resistant to value-based integrated metrics are really saying, “It appears that this may require effort on my part and may make me re-consider how it is I evaluate players and understand baseball. That seems like too much effort, so I am just going to loudly say it is bullshit.” Of course, it isn’t going away, and the fact that the MSM is generally about 10 yrs behind means they will, at some point, change their views….indeed, the speed at which MSM (and as a result, fans) change their views may be increasing because of the diverse and numerous free outlets regarding baseball information and understanding.

        For some reason, people think this will change the way they enjoy the game. It will not. I enjoy baseball just like I did 10 years ago, I just understand things differently, better, and more fully than I did before.

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Lots of good points.

        Miggy’s very-average defense and lack of speed adversely affect his overall worth to the game…he is DEFINITELY not a 5-tool player.

        I guess I’m just not a full-on Sabermetrics convert yet, but I really do appreciate the additional context that these stats bring to the game.

    • themuddychicken - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Actually, the stats do a pretty great job of quantifying Cabrera as a beast. And what he’s doing offensively IS mindblowing!

      Generically speaking, it feels like this Trout/Cabrera thing is preventing people from realizing that we’re all agreeing much more than people are letting on. They’re both amazing, and go about being amazing in their own different ways. Gotta love watching them both!

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Absolutely. I hope no one thinks I’m denigrating Trout’s amazing abilities.

        He IS a better all-around player than Cabrera, no doubt.

  6. philliesblow - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    I was supposed to go to Friday night’s game but a ticket snafu led to being at tonight’s game instead. I love ticket snafus. MiggyVP!

  7. mudhead123 - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    I love watching tiger fans get so up in arms about the fact that Trout Is a better all around player. However, Cabrera is the better hitter hands down.

  8. andreweac - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Mike Trout for MVP.

  9. Carl Hancock - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball and the MVP. I love stats and saber metrics but get out from behind a computer and take a look. We’re watching one of the all time great hitters of our generation in his prime and some people are debating his MVP worthiness? Get over it. Cabrera is the MVP just as he was last yearTrout is young and has plenty of time to win some awards… unless he doesn’t have as long and as successful career as Cabrera has had.Amazingly enough Cabrera could potentially win two Triple Crowns in a row. TWO. And you’d still have people claiming someone else is the MvP. Idiots

    • paperlions - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      Yes, people that spend far more time understanding baseball dare debate if contributions besides hitting contribute to winning. The rather bemusing thing is that teams that best incorporate newer analytical approaches generally are the ones that are winning, and those that don’t are generally the ones that are losing, and many fans continue to act like understanding everything that contributes to winning or losing baseball games is something done by people that don’t watch baseball….when the people that do it most are those that spend over 300 days/year at the ball bark.

  10. dawgpoundmember - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    This thread is awesome. Miguel Cabrera didn’t start his home run tear until he was worn down with injures and couldn’t run.

    Does anyone who can defend WAR for MVP make a case for that kind of adjustment?

    • eightyraw - Aug 18, 2013 at 3:06 AM

      Why didn’t he start hitting home runs before he was worn down and couldn’t run? Home runs are the best possible outcome.

  11. andreweac - Aug 18, 2013 at 4:11 AM

    If defense and base running matter Trout is the best player in baseball. Perhaps he is already one of the best players in the history of the game.

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  13. kalinedrive - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    His earlier RBI single was actually an RBI double to the corner in right. Considering it was painful for him to leg it out, at least give him credit for the extra base.

  14. stephenolszewski - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    I hate the Tigers with a passion, but I absolutely love Miguel Cabrera one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen. Just hope he never shows up on any biogenesis reports. It’s sad we have to ponder that now instead of just enjoying the game.

  15. mjbabiak - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    13 Game-Winning/Tying homeruns this year in the 9th inning or later.

    Sounds pretty MVP-ish to me.

  16. idolized1 - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    I’m a Twins fan, but even I think it’s great we get to watch one of the best offensive players in the last 50 years (or maybe even ever) on a regular basis.

    Davis has the upper hand now, but it’s insane to think that in this day and age there is someone who has a better chance than not of winning the Triple Crown back to back. Just amazing.

    The only thing I don’t like about Cabrera as a player is that he isn’t on my team.

  17. historiophiliac - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    If every story about Cabrera and/or the Tigers is going to end up a fight between commenters about Trout v Cabrera or a stats argument, I might have to leave for the remainder of the season. 😦

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