May 13, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) makes a play on a ball hit by Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (not pictured) in the second inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Last night the Tigers rebounded to take the first game of the series with the new AL whipping boy, Houston Astros. In between the MLB.TV buffers, outages and lots of swear words, I had a couple observations on some Tiger-related topics.
It amazed me that Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown was not a huge story outside of Detroit. Perhaps that’s due to the rise of sabermetrics, and a segment of baseball fans and media valuing the new-age stats over the traditional numbers. It could also be because the accomplishment happened to a player with Detroit. Had it been New York or Boston, it may have been a bigger deal. Either way, one thing is certain, Miguel is on a similar pace as last year.
Through 36 games in 2012: .308, 8 HR, 31 RBI; Through 36 games in 2013: .385, 6 HR, 36 RBIs
Friday night, almost on cue when Fox Sports Detroit put a graphic up about his unbelievable numbers with RISP, he hit a three-run bomb. He is so good that its actually more newsworthy when he fails, as was the case when he grounded out to end Saturday’s game with the tying run in scoring position.
There is no debate that Miggy is the best player in the game today. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he could win another Triple Crown and become the first player to ever achieve the honor two straight years. If that happens, perhaps sabermetricians and ESPN will finally give him his due.
May 7, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) reacts after striking out to end the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
No one needs to be reminded of the struggles of Alex Avila. Perhaps his lone highlight of the year was the clutch home run in Houston. Other than that, he has struggled at the plate and is average behind the plate (including looking awful on a couple of throws in last night’s games). Which leads me to wonder if the Tigers are stuck with Avila. Brayan Pena‘s productive Sunday should lead to questions of if he should be starting more often, at least until he cools off.
Avila has plenty of supporters. Justin Verlander likes having him as his catcher, and, more importantly, his dad is the assistant GM. A major change will not happen during the season, but if Avila struggles this year, giving him two straight subpar years (and three out of four), should the Tigers think of upgrading the position? Will that be a problem because of Alex’s relationship to the front office?
The Jim Price Drinking Game
Because of my battles with MLB.TV’s crappy reception for the last week, I’ve been listening to more of the radio feed, which has renewed my astonishment that Jim Price is still employed. The Rod Allen Drinking Game has nothing on a possible Jim Price Drinking Game, except everyone would be passed out by the third inning.
Price relies heavily on gimmicks. He describes any location that Dan Dickerson talks about during an advertisement as, “what a great place, I love it there,” even though you know he’s never been there. I almost wish DD would trip him up one time and say, “We have a young man attending his first Tigers’ game from Fallujah,” only to have Price utter, “oh what a beautiful city that is!”
Aside from the constant eating on the air, the other thing that drive me insane about Price is his constant use of the talking point “the art of pitching.” It is like nails on a chalkboard. Dickerson is a very good broadcaster, but his partner is so awful that it brings the entire broadcast level down.
Price is getting to the Hawk Harrelson level for embarrassment, and this needs to be his last season in the booth.