A few hours before Thursday night's Game 5, I wrote at some length about Jim Leyland's new lineup, which basically replaced rookie Jose Iglesias with veteran non-hitter Don Kelly. But I saved a little space at the end to wonder if Miguel Cabrera, who essentially hasn't hit anything at all since August, should even be in the lineup. Especially if the A's were going to keep pitching him away, since he just hasn't seemed strong enough to hit the opposite way with any authority.
My big finish:
The Tigers are probably just as well off playing Cabrera, and hoping that Sonny Gray makes a big mistake.
Or, more reasonably, that Justin Verlander is unhittable. At some point, though, the Tigers aren't going to win the World Series if Cabrera's not hitting home runs.*
* /free analysis
Through four innings, Verlander's been unhittable. I mean, literally unhittable.
Meanwhile, look at the second pitch that Sonny Gray threw to Cabrera in the top of the fourth:
That second pitch was sort of the opposite of staying away from Cabrera, and not allowing him to pull the ball. Here's what happened to that second pitch:
And just like that, Cabrera's slump was over and the Tigers were up 2-0. Later they loaded the bases against Gray, but he escaped with no more damage. The way Verlander's been pitching, it might not matter.