As Miguel Cabrera pulled up halfway between first and second on Friday night, Tigers fans everywhere held their breath, hoping against hope that their worst fears were not being realized.
Unfortunately, however, Saturday morning, the beleaguered fan-base found themselves dealing with the fact that the former MVP would be absent from the lineup for six weeks.
Saturday afternoon, the Detroit Tigers did their best to put Friday’s heartbreak behind them, for as catcher Alex Avila put it, “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.”
Nor should they. Anyone witness to the Tigers’ dominance in recent history knows better than to count out this talented, veteran group. Especially considering the wide array of talent on the 25 man roster, and the mediocre American League.
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First things first, there are 29 other teams who would love to have the Tigers’ embarrassment of riches on offense. Even without Cabrera. Despite losing their most feared slugger, Detroit boasts a heart of the order featuring J.D. Martinez, who is hitting .284 with 22 HRs, and 55 RBIs, Victor Martinez, who is hitting .311 with 11 RBI since his return from the DL, and Yoenis Cespedes, who is hitting .294 with 10 HRs, and 44 RBI. Losing Cabrera is, without question, a devastating blow, but more so than just about any team, the Tigers have a lineup capable of surviving without a player of that caliber.
So capable, in fact, that since Cabrera departed from the game Friday night, the Tigers have scored 15 runs.
Beyond that, for those who find themselves keen on the idea of a fire-sale, Detroit has more than enough time to get their act together in an uncharacteristically weak American League. In fact, as poor as the Tigers have played, they sit just five games back of the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central, and one and a half games out of a wild card berth, with 82 games left to play.
If you are curious, as late as August 27th last season, the Tigers were two and a half games behind Kansas City, and yet the 2014 American League Central Champions flag hangs in Comerica Park, not Kauffman Stadium.
Now, the Tigers have certainly disappointed. That is a point anyone would have a hard time contesting. However, Cabrera’s injury is not the tipping point in the debate between buy or sell for Detroit, and when Dave Dombrowski inevitably decides to add talent at the deadline, he can do so with the knowledge that the best hitter in baseball will be returning shortly thereafter. If the Tigers’ General Manager can shore up his rotation, as well as his bullpen, Detroit is capable of going toe to toe with any divisional leader in the American League.