We knew this already, though, right?
With a man on in the top of the ninth, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera took an 0-2 fastball from Matt Capps to dead center for his ninth homer Sunday, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a victory over the Twins.
It was the first blown save for Capps in 10 chances this year, so he didn’t really deserve the boos he received from the Target Field crowd. Sometimes you just get beat, and when it’s a talent like Cabrera administering the whipping, you shake your head and move on.
Of course, there’s plenty of lingering resentment in Minnesota over Capps’ 2011 performance. He blew nine saves in just 24 chances last year.
Cabrera’s homer capped a three-RBI day. He second in the AL with 40 RBI even though he hasn’t really gotten hot at any point yet this season. Indeed, his OPS is down about 150 points from where he finished 2010 and ’11.
The Tigers were in position to take the lead because of an outstanding leaping catch made by center fielder Quintin Berry to end the eighth, stranding an insurance run on third. Twins announcer Dick Bremer twice labeled it “one of the best catches you’ll ever see.” And the catch itself was outstanding. On the other hand, his jump off the bat and his route to the ball were anything but. A better center fielder likely would have made the play look a lot easier.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.