Since when is Miguel Cabrera not getting any press for his Triple Crown?

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I realize that the whole Mike Trout-Miguel Cabrera MVP debate has led to a lot of old school-new school tribalism (and a lot of Detroit-non-Detroit tribalism), but it seems that in the past week or so that tribalism has taken a rather silly turn:  people claiming that Miguel Cabrera was/is getting no attention for his Triple Crown push.

I’ve seen it all over Twitter, almost always from people who are Tigers fans: people saying “Why is Cabrera getting no attention?” Or “Cabrera is gonna win the Triple Crown and NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT!”  We had a commenter here say that the other morning. He said in the middle of a time when HBT had run no less than three posts dedicated to Miguel Cabrera in a 12 hour period.

Here’s the latest incarnation of it, from The Big Lead:

Impressive feat, right? Except nobody outside of Detroit seems to care. Is it because Cabrera isn’t universally loved by the media? Is it because of the sport’s shift away from traditional stats and to Sabermetrics?

Five years ago, would Cabrera’s Triple Crown have received significantly more publicity? Is everyone still skeptical about cheating baseball players one year after the NL MVP, Ryan Braun, tested positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs, and one month after the leading hitter in the NL was busted for PEDs, too?

I’m not sure what planet this criticism is coming from. If you do a Google News search for “Miguel Cabrera MVP” — and even if you cut it off before yesterday to avoid all of the cut-and-paste “Cabrera won the Triple Crown” reports that came out last night — you get 93,000 results.  In that same time frame you get 13,000 or so “Mike Trout MVP” results.

That’s obviously not scientific, but I defy anyone to find me a single newspaper in city with a baseball team or any sports website out there that has not made multiple mentions of Miguel Cabrera and the Triple Crown.  Bud Selig issued an official statement from Major League Baseball congratulating him on the feat. Sure, maybe it could stand to be hyped even more given how rare it is (though at the moment I’m not sure how one could hype it more), but it has been hyped quite a lot.

What I think is really going on are people who are very pro-Cabrera in the MVP race not happy that he was being at all compared with Trout in the first place, and looking for considerably more Cabrera coverage they can point to and say “ah ha! More people agree with me! My preconceptions on the topic are validated!”

Folks: that fight is almost certainly over. I’d be shocked if Cabrera does not win the MVP. And I’d be equally as shocked if anyone can explain cogently and specifically — as opposed to merely making vague complaints — how Miguel Cabrera’s accomplishment is being somehow overlooked.

By the way: “Cabrera Triple Crown overlooked” has 1,500 Google News results in that time frame.  Maybe if everyone who is complaining about the lack of kudos Cabrera is getting and actually gave him kudos their life wouldn’t feel so unfulfilled.

Game 6: This is why the Astros traded for Justin Verlander

Associated Press
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Houston’s pitching has not been their biggest problem as they’ve watched their 2-0 series lead turn in to a 3-2 series deficit. It has not been good, mind you — Charlie Morton got rocked in Game 3, the bullpen collapsed on Game 4 and Dallas Keuchel was suddenly mortal in Game 5 — but even then it’s not been the biggest concern. The real problem has been the lack of offense.

The Astros led the majors in runs (896), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.346) and slugging (.478) during the regular season and were second to the Yankees in homers. Despite that, they have scored just nine runs and have hit only one homer. The team’s ALCS batting line, those two wins included, is .147/.234/.213. As such, facing off against Luis Severino and a rested Yankees bullpen tonight can’t give them a ton of confidence.

They do have one thing going for them, however: Justin Verlander. The same Justin Verlander who received only two runs of support in Game 2 of the series but made it hold up thanks to his 124-pitch, 13-strikeout complete game victory. You can’t really expect a starter to do that sort of thing two times in a row, but that’s what the Astros acquired him for at the end of August. In a league where there are vanishingly few horses a team can ride to victory, Verlander stands as one of the few remaining old school aces. Expect A.J. Hinch to keep the bit in Verlander’s mouth for as long as this game is close and, even then, maybe an inning longer.

Is there any reason for optimism regarding the Astros’ lineup? Sure, of course. They didn’t suddenly all forget how to hit. Every team goes through a stretch of 3-5 games where the hits don’t seem to fall. There may, possibly, be some reason for hope in the man they’re facing too. Severino lasted only four innings in Game 2, having been removed early after taking a ground ball off his left wrist. Severino said he was fine and wished that Joe Girardi hadn’t taken him out, but (a) he was acting a little odd, shaking his arm out like he was trying to shake off some pain; and (b) starting pitchers almost always lie and say they’re better than they are. I’m certain Severino is healthy enough to go, but there’s at least a small chance that he’s vulnerable, somehow. At the very least Astros hitters can walk to the plate convincing themselves of it. Any edge you can either get or imagine, right?

Game 6 seems like it will have to be a matter of a small edge one way or another for both teams, really. The Yankees are rolling, but their assignment tonight is a tough one as they try to chase a guy who fancies himself — and has often shown himself — to be a rare throwback to those 1960s and 1970s aces who only seem to get better as the ballgame goes on. The Astros, meanwhile, are tasked with solving a young, fireballing stuff monster who has something to prove after his early exit in Game 2 and, even if he can’t prove it, a corps of relief aces who are among the most formidable in baseball. Add to that the notion that Major League Baseball, Fox and most commentators and casual fans outside of Houston want to see the 12th Yankees-Dodgers World Series matchup and the Astros have to be thinking everything’s against them.

Which is OK, though, right? Ballplayers love it when no one believes in them. That’s not better than six or seven runs of support, but the Astros will take anything they can get at the moment.