The final series of Miguel Cabrera’s career is here, and the surefire Hall of Famer is winding back the clock like it’s 2013. Miggy delivered three hits in the first act of his farewell in Detroit as the Tigers fell to the Cleveland Guardians, 7-5.
In his first at-bat of the evening, Miguel Cabrera doubled to the left field wall. Despite putting a no-doubt double in play, Miggy made it close, sliding in just under the tag at second base with a smile on his face.
That double put Cabrera in sole possession of 13th place all-time in doubles.
Life goes by fast, but Miggy's faster.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 29, 2023
His 625th career double passes Henry Aaron for 13th all-time. pic.twitter.com/qJkozeavxh
Joey Wentz secured a 1-2-3 first for the Tigers, but he gave up the first run of the evening in the second thanks to... apathy and ugliness? Ramon Laureano drew the count full and then walked in the leadoff spot. He swiped second uncontested, prompting a Chris Fetter mound meeting, but things went from bad to worse shortly after that.
Wentz gave up four consecutive hits after inducing a ground-ball second out. Brayan Rocchio doubled on a ball horribly misplayed by Akil Baddoo (they could have ruled this an error and no one would have argued) to score Laureano and Bo Naylor homered to make it 3-0. Myles Straw and Steven Kwan both singled, but Jose Ramirez grounded out to first to end the threat.
Straw and Kwan both stole successfully and with relative ease, so clearly Cleveland has figured out something about Wentz out of the stretch.
The cutter was the trouble pitch for Wentz tonight. He couldn’t locate it convincingly and draw enough swing-and-miss. His fastball worked for a bit, but major-league hitters are going to take those middle-middle balls for a ride, eventually.
Fortunately, Zach McKinstry got some runs back for Detroit with a two-run blast of his own. Coincidentally, McKinstry took Cal Quantrill deep on a cutter left over the middle of the plate in the bottom third. Matt Vierling scored on the homer after singling to left to start the bottom of the second.
The best way to celebrate Miggy this weekend: Going yard. pic.twitter.com/p1SIuTSePX— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 29, 2023
Wentz walked Laureano to kick off a second-straight inning, and Andres Gimenez singled to set up a three-run homer from Tyler Freeman. Hinch didn’t give Wentz the hook at that point, but he should. Naylor doubled and Straw drove him in, making it 7-2.
Andrew Vasquez came in for Wentz and got two quick outs to close another painful inning.
Speaking of pain... Miguel Cabrera was hit in his second plate appearance of the night. Miggy was fine, but the fans were not happy after the Tigers stranded him and Spencer Torkelson on base. Kerry Carpenter looked lost on an inside fastball, and Matt Vierling grounded out to third after getting four straight inside sinkers. Odd.
Vasquez spammed sliders and changeups all the way to a 1-2-3 top of the fourth. His changeup was coming in almost five miles faster than normal, according to Statcast.
Quantrill began to lose some of his control in the bottom of the frame. He left a splitter up to Javy Baez for a double and walked Baddoo on five pitches outside the zone. Meadows tripled to the right-center gap, scoring both men and cutting the deficit down to three.
Trey Wingenter took over in the fifth for Vasquez. He lost a 10-pitch battle to Rocchio but was fine otherwise.
Cabrera led off the bottom of the fifth with another double — this one to right-center. Quantrill retired Carpenter, Vierling and McKinstry in order to strand him, though.
The people are here for Miggy.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) September 30, 2023
And Miggy, as always, is a man of the people. pic.twitter.com/CHMxSeqJTf
Neither team scored in the sixth. Tyler Holton came in to pitch for Detroit and quickly got in and out of trouble. He had men on the corners with just one out but found the double-play ball to escape without giving up a run. Holton stayed out for the seventh, giving up a harmless single to Freeman. All six of Holton’s outs came on contact.
Sam Hentges came in for Cleveland in the sixth and gave up just a single to Jake Rogers. Baez and Andy Ibanez both had exit velocities over 100 mph in the inning, but they each found gloves for an out.
Miggy beat Cleveland’s slider-spammer, Enyel De Los Santos, for his third hit of the night in the seventh inning. That was Detroit’s only hit of the inning, though.
Jose Cisnero forced two weak balls to the right side and struck out Jose Ramirez, who became frustrated after an 0-for-4 performance. He returned for the ninth as well, getting three out in order after surrendering a leadoff single to Laureano.
Spencer Torkelson hit his 31st homer off Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase to bring the Tigers within reach, but the damage done under Joey Wentz was too much to overcome. Miggy finally recorded an out, Carpenter flew out to left and Matt Vierling lined out to right to finish it off.
If the Tigers have a decent starter on the mound, this is a win all day. Still, it’s nice to see Miggy shine in his final days as a pro.
After the game, the Tigers celebrated Cabrera with this drone light show, which was new. Good to see them pulling out all the stops to make it a special weekend.