Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera continues to do rude things to baseballs and some of baseball’s greats.
Cabrera stuck Yankees closer Mariano Rivera with a blown save on Friday night when he launched a game-tying 427-foot home run to deep center field. He then homered off Mo again on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium as the Tigers marched back to tie the game at 4-4 with a two-run top of the ninth. Victor Martinez also homered off Mo in that frame.
Detroit wound up losing Friday’s game 4-3 in the 10th inning and fell 5-4 Sunday in the bottom of the ninth, but the story here is Cabrera’s monstrous outpout and Rivera’s sudden struggles.
With that homer Sunday, Cabrera joined Edgar Martinez and Evan Longoria as the only other right-handed hitters with two career home runs off Rivera. No player has homered three times off Mo.
Cabrera, 30, is now batting .365/.459/.686 with 36 homers and 101 RBI in 108 games this season.
Rivera, meanwhile, has been knocked around in three straight appearances and has three consecutive blown saves to show for it. Brett Gardner rescued the Yankees on Sunday with a walkoff home run.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.