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Detroit Tigers: What’s the Deal with Miguel Cabrera?

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Jul 15, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts after striking out in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 15, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts after striking out in the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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At 33 years of age, Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera is officially having the second worst season of his stellar career. The Triple-Crown winner has the lowest numbers he has had since his debut with the Marlins in 2003.

Is he in the midst of a slump? Or is it something bigger?

Has the Best Hitter in Baseball lost his edge?

In 14 years, Cabrera has only had three seasons with batting averages under .300. His rookie year and second year with the Marlins and 2008 with the Detroit Tigers. He did lead the AL in home runs in 2008 with 37.

Jul 15, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts to a catch by Kansas City Royals right fielder Brett Eibner (not pictured) at the right field wall designing him a home run in the third inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 15, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) reacts to a catch by Kansas City Royals right fielder Brett Eibner (not pictured) at the right field wall designing him a home run in the third inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Currently, Cabrera is batting a slash of .287/.366/.497 and an OPS of .863. There have been several noticeable differences in his performance this year. He has been grounding into more double plays, leaving more men on base, and hitting to the warning track – rather than over the fences.

The most disappointing statistic about Miguel Cabrera in 2016 is that he has had ten opportunities to hit a grand slam. He is 0-10 in these situations. When it comes to leaving runners on base, he is already on pace to bypass last year’s numbers. So far, he has left 150 runners on base. In 2015, he left 151 runners on base.

Cabrera is no stranger of the GIDP stat, but he’s on track to have more than any other season. Already, he has grounded into 15 double plays. In 2015, he only had 19. The most he has ever had is 28, in 2012.

On Sunday’s Tigers Live broadcast, Fox Sports Detroit showed a graphic about Miggy’s splits since May 14. His batting average in the first 43 games was .317, with 14 home runs, 35 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.022. In his last 12 games, he has hit .233 with 0 home runs and 2 RBIs. His OPS is .596. Craig Monroe discussed Miggy’s health issues like his knee and back. 

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When Brad Ausmus was asked about Cabrera’s current status, he replied: “I don’t get too concerned about what people are saying, I get concerned about what’s happening on the field. You take the experiences you have in baseball over the course of decades and apply them to what you see. Nobody’s getting younger, but I’m not worried about Miguel.”

Numbers aside, putting the “eyeball test” to Miguel Cabrera, it is easy to see that he not playing up to his par. In the July 16 game against the Kansas City Royals, Cabrera actually looked a bit lazy on first base during the 5th inning. Had he had enough of the horrible pitching that day? Was he not feeling well? It just isn’t like him to play in a lazy way.

Only Cabrera knows what is going on with his body and mind, but we, the fans, can clearly see that something is happening. If the Tigers are going to make it to the post-season, Miggy has to get things right. When he is on, the Tigers are more likely to win. If the starting pitching doesn’t get fixed, Cabrera’s performances at the plate need to improve.

Next: Justin Upton is Improving

The games at Comerica Park just aren’t the same when Miguel Cabrera can’t hit beyond the warning track.

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