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Who would win if Miguel Cabrera faced Clayton Kershaw 10,000 times?

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What if Clayton Kershaw and Miguel Cabrera spent fifteen seasons facing no one but each other? I think we need to find out the answer using computers.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In a parallel universe, the 2006 MLB draft resulted in the Tigers selecting Clayton Kershaw instead of Andrew Miller as their first pick. I don't know what happens to the Dodgers in this universe, because I can't see that far west. The Tigers, however, end up with a perennial Cy Young starter who somehow ate the chakras of Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and Walter Johnson.

Andrew Miller traded in his career as a starter and reinvented himself as a relief ace, which, good for him. Kershaw, on the other hand, turned into a starting pitcher who dominates all living things from April through October, after which he ascends Mount Olympus and joins a pantheon of immortals and relaxes among the gods until spring training starts.

Tigers fans are very happy in this universe.

Tigers fans are also very happy in the present universe, because even though Andrew Miller never turned into a great starting pitcher in the old ML-of-B, he did get rolled into a trade package that brought back a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Miguel Cabrera, who decided it might be fun, for a lark, to win the first Triple Crown since 1967. Take that, Dodgers.

So here we are in the offseason, the Tigers have said they're pretty much finished making whatever trades/signings/roster moves they intended to make, and the boredom is beginning to set in just a bit. Let's have one of those "my dad could beat up your dad" conversations, shall we?

Who would win in a fist-fight, Superman or the Incredible Hulk? Who would you take in a brawl, Mike Ditka or a hurricane (assuming the hurricane was named Hurricane Ditka)?

Ok, ok, what about this: Cy Young vs Ted Williams, except Cy Young has a sore shoulder, and Ted Williams has a patch over one eye?

Wait, wait, wait, I got another one: Babe Ruth the hitter vs Babe Ruth the pitcher -- could Babe Ruth strike himself out?

Alright then, let's try something that can actually be simulated with a bit of computer code, a couple of Strat-o-Matic cards, some imagination, and way too much free time: Clayton Kershaw vs Miguel Cabrera. Heyyyy? Riiiiight?

Yeah, I know, they're both currently active players and not only could they square off against each other in real life, they have squared off against each other in the past. Five times, in fact -- twice in 2008, and three more times in 2011. How did that work out?

  • 2008, at-bat #1: groundout to shortstop
  • 2008, at-bat #2: swinging strikeout
  • 2011, at-bat #1: swinging strikeout
  • 2011, at-bat #2: groundout to shortstop
  • 2011, at-bat #3: swinging strikeout

Advantage: Kershaw.

Still, that's two games and five at-bats, which is no kind of sample size to use when you're trying to envision The Ultimate Pitcher vs Batter Showdown of All Time. You want, say, 500 at-bats. Or maybe even 2,000 at-bats. You know what? To hell with it -- let's do ten thousand at-bats, which is roughly the equivalent of 2,500 games, or fifteen-and-a-half years of nothing but Kershaw vs Cabrera, day after glorious day.

Ready then? Here we go.

/computer whirring

/results tabulating

/numbers crunching

/ {error: -187390008 unspecified fault found in module}

/results re-tabulating

/numbers crunching even harder

*DING!*

Cabrera vs Kershaw: 10,000 at-bats, one-year averages
AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
667 117 36 1 7 72 130 .176 .221 .265 .486

As you can clearly see from these results, Cabrera has a t--WHAT THE HELL? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A HAPPY POST ABOUT HOW AWESOME MIGUEL CABRERA IS AND IT TURNED INTO A STINKY HOT PILE OF SADNESS!

So anyway, as I was saying, in a parallel universe, the 2006 MLB draft resulted in the Tigers selecting Clayton Kershaw instead of Andrew Miller as their first pick...

(Can it be time for real baseball soon?)