I think there’s a lot to be said for knowing this is Miguel Cabrera’s last season in the majors. For years now, Cabrera hasn’t been quite the same, plagued by persistent injury and a stubborn need to keep in the game like a much younger player. I think this season has been a remarkable about-face for a man who has looked done for years. Miggy, this season more than ever, seems to be having fun again. He’s smiling, he’s joking, he’s behaving like a player at least 10 years younger, and then in games like today, he’s hitting like a player 10 years younger.
Make no mistake, Miguel Cabrera is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and games like tonight help remind us why. Too bad the rest of the game wasn’t so fun.
Let’s get into what went down in Minneapolis.
The pitching matchup was Alex Faedo versus Bailey Ober, and Faedo looked pretty good out there. In the top of the first Akil Baddoo singled to start things off, before getting picked off stealing to outs later to end the inning. Faedo, meanwhile, had a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half.
The Tigers struck in the top of the second as Kerry Carpenter got a one-out walk, and then Miguel Cabrera hit a 438-foot home run to bring them both home.
Side note here, but what’s up with the color of the Twins’ infield? It looks almost black? Bottom of the second Carlos Correa with hit by a pitch, but he was the only baserunner and did not score.
Ober had himself a 1-2-3 third, and in the bottom half of the inning Faedo gave up just one single to Michael A. Taylor, who did not score.
The fourth started with a Matt Vierling single, followed by a two-out Cabrera walk. Zach McKinstry got an infield single to load things up, but the Tigers were unable to take advantage of the opportunity. In the bottom half, Faedo had another three-up/three-down inning.
The fifth saw Eric Haase lead off with a walk, but he was then eliminated by a double play. In the home half Faedo allowed a walk to Joey Gallo, but no one scored. That was the end of the day for Faedo, who went 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K on 81 pitches. Just a really nice night for him.
In the sixth, Vierling reached on another single, but again the baserunner was eaten up by the double play. In the bottom half, unfortunately, things got turned over to the pen, and the wheels fell off of Faedo’s very nice efforts. Jose Cisnero walked Jorge Polanco, allowed a Max Kepler single, and then let a run score on a Royce Lewis single. That was it for Hinch, who apparently does know how to pull a pitcher sometimes. In came Will Vest. Correa singled, to load the bases, and then Matt Wallner hit his first career grand slam, to obliterate the Tigers’ lead and kind of make me miss Chasen Shreve. Vest was replaced by Andrew Vasquez, who got the final much-needed out of the inning.
The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. In the bottom half Vasquez was back out. Polanco was hit by a pitch, the Kepler walked, which was when Brendan White became the next victim out of the bullpen. Lewis then walked to load things up, but the Tigers were able to get out of the very tight jam with a nice double play.
The eighth saw the Tigers go 1-2-3 once again. In the bottom half they got very lucky with a triple that was overturned to become a tag out, the second out of the inning. Solano then doubled off the wall. White kept the Twins scoreless.
The top of the ninth was the Tigers’ last opportunity to change their fate, and Spencer Torkelson made an effort with a one-out solo home run. Carpenter then singled to bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of Mr. Miguel Cabrera. He was able to hit a little dribbler down center to advance Carpenter, but they couldn’t turn a double play. Nice work. McKinstry was the Tigers last hope with two outs in the inning. He struck out. Game over.
Final: Twins 5, Tigers 3