Can we just pretend the bottom of the eighth inning in last night’s Tigers-Rangers game didn’t happen?
For those of you who missed it, with one out, Miguel Cabrera came up to bat. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Ron Washington had, to that point, been pitching to Cabrera with men on base, getting burned for it on a couple of occasions. With no one on base, however, Washington figured it was time to intentionally walk the guy. Um, OK. You don’t see that very often — someone tweeted last night that it was only the 10th time in playoff history that a guy was given a free pass with no one on base — but I can understand Washington’s thought process.
Next up was Victor Martinez, and he immediately made Washington’s move look bad, singling to right. Cabrera made it to third base as fast as his big legs could carry him. Which is to say not very fast, but he got there, finishing off his run with a slide that made me cringe a little. Let’s call it foreshadowing.
Then comes Delmon Young who, because of a combination of (a) his oblique injury; and (b) being Delmon Young, had looked awful at the plate thus far. Mike Adams, however, gave him two pitches in the strike zone for some reason, the first one he fouled off and the second one he lofted to mid-right field where Nelson Cruz caught it and — because Cabrera was tagging up — prepared to throw. Now would be a good time to put on some mood music.
Does any one know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours? The searches all say he’d have been safe on the play if they’d he’d put fifteen more feet behind him…
OK, enough of that. And I don’t know that fifteen feet would have helped. I’ll grant that, yes, it was a great throw by Nelson Cruz that nailed Cabrera and given Mike Napoli’s failure to hold on to a ball while getting barreled over by someone as tiny as Sean Rodriguez in the ALDS, there was a decent shot he’d lost it when hit by the Mack truck that is Miguel Cabrera.
But it’s a fact that Cabrera’s “running” on the play has been classified as a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Fox executives have been arrested for showing it in slow motion the next inning, which only compounded the crime. It’s something that will haunt me for the rest of my days.
Perhaps I’ve overstated things. I suppose I’ve seen worse gambles than Gene Lamont’s gamble of sending Cabrera — a man who apparently considers salads and road work to be his mortal enemy — against one of the best right field arms in the game. I just can’t remember one in such a critical situation that ended up looking as bad as that one and looming as large.