Miguel Cabrera’s bat is showing signs of life and so are the Detroit Tigers.
Detroit has won six of its last eight and will try to complete a sweep of a three-game home series against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. The Tigers swept both seven-inning games of a doubleheader on Saturday, 8-2 and 4-2, with their aging slugger playing a big role.
Cabrera had a two-run double in the opener and drilled a go-ahead, two-run homer in the nightcap. He increased his hitting streak to six games, though he hadn’t produced an extra-base hit since Aug. 8 entering Saturday.
“He knows how to hit and he’s swinging better,” manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters. “When he goes through a mini-slump, it’s a huge slump for somebody else.”
Cabrera has raised his batting average to .232 with five homers and 19 RBIs.
“He’s loud in the clubhouse, he’s loud in the dugout. I don’t know a lot of what he’s saying sometimes because he’s rambling pretty good,” Gardenhire said. “He keeps guys laughing and that goes along with being a great player that’s going to be in the Hall of Fame. He’s still holding on pretty good and still can hit.”
Right-hander Casey Mize (0-1, 7.04 ERA) will make his third major league start for the Tigers on Sunday. Mize made his debut on Aug. 19 against the Chicago White Sox and gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings while striking out seven.
He recorded only two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs on Monday while getting tagged with his first loss. The top overall pick in the 2018 draft allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits.
Mize expressed disappointment after his first home start.
“Pretty poor performance,” Mize said to the Detroit News. “Hate that I couldn’t go longer than 3.1 and not put our team in position to win. It’s just something to learn from for the next time out.
“I was tensing up (when) I should have been more calm and try to slow the game down, instead of allowing it to speed on me.”
The Twins’ acquisition of Kenta Maeda from the Los Angeles Dodgers in February has turned into one of the most impactful moves of the offseason. Maeda (4-0, 2.21 ERA), who will oppose Mize, has not allowed more than three runs in any of his six starts.
In his last outing, Maeda gave up one run on five hits in five innings at Cleveland on Monday.
Maeda has only faced the Tigers once in his career — a six-inning stint (6.00 ERA) in which he gave up four runs and took the loss.
Minnesota has lost four straight while scoring a total of nine runs.
“You can’t rely on just a swing here or a swing there to win a game,” manager Rocco Baldelli said.
The Twins’ veteran designated hitter, Nelson Cruz, homered in each of the seven-inning games on Saturday but the rest of his teammates couldn’t produce a big hit.
“It’s just a completely different set of circumstances that you have to work through,” Baldelli said. “You have to get it done earlier in the game. There’s not enough time to wait and hope for something to happen.”
–Field Level Media