May 27, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) rounds the bases on a three run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
#1 Zero: Yoenis Cespedes
Also a topic on this morning’s podcast, Dave and I discussed Yoenis Cespedes. While he is having a normal Cespedes-like season, he has not been able to step up in big situations. He did have three homers last week, two in one game, but they are just failing to come when it is needed most.
The moment we talked about in the introduction came on Sunday with the bases loaded and two out in the seventh inning. The Angels did not give Miguel Cabrera much to hit and he walked bringing up Yoenis. He worked the count a bit before flying softly to the right fielder, ending the threat.
The score was tied at two. Had Cespedes got a base hit, at least two runs would have scored to give the Tigers the lead. David Price would probably have been removed, and the late innings Tigers’ bullpen, which has been so effective this year would have kicked in.
Instead the score remained 2-2 and, one inning later, the Angels took advantage of a tired Price to mount an eighth inning rally and Joba Chamberlain came in to allow the two runs Los Angeles needed to win the game.
This was a moment that could have changed the fortunes of the team in an instant. The Detroit Tigers would have still experienced a subpar week, but a 3-4 California trip is not too bad for an Eastern Time Zone team.
Perhaps it is unfair to point to that specific at-bat by Cespedes as the turning point in that game, especially with so many bats in the lineup struggling, but it was by far the biggest threat for the Tigers on Sunday night, and because time after time Cespesdes cannot step up in big situations, that one ended harmlessly for the Angels.
In a contract year, in the clean-up spot, with no Victor Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes simply has to be better.