Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera picked a big moment for his first extra-base hit of the ALDS.
Cabrera launched a two-run homer off A’s rookie right-hander Sonny Gray in the top of the fourth inning to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in this decisive Game 5. It followed a one-out single by Torii Hunter and ended an 11-inning scoreless streak for Gray during the series. Cabrera might not be 100 percent right now, but it’s still dangerous to give him a fastball over the middle of the plate. This time, it landed in the left field seats. You can check out the video of the home run below:
Things could have been much worse for the A’s, as Gray loaded the bases after the Cabrera homer, but he was able to wiggle out of the jam by getting Omar Infante to ground out. Still, he’s not long for this game.
While the Tigers have grabbed the early lead against Gray, Justin Verlander is dominating on the mound. He has yet to allow a baserunner over his first three innings of work and has struck out five batters. A’s fans will have to hope that they aren’t witnessing a repeat of Game 5 of ALDS last year.
We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.
StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.
Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.
That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.
All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.
Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.