Miguel Cabrera’s record streak of having reached base in 31 straight postseason games was snapped Tuesday when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the 1-0 loss to the Red Sox.
Obviously, there’s no shame in that. Even Cabrera mixes in an 0-for every once in a while. But the fashion in which it happened today was really quite stunning; as WEEI’s Alex Speier noted, Cabrera swung and missed at eight fastballs over the course of his four at-bats.
Now, Cabrera isn’t a Joe Mauer or a Marco Scutaro; he’s always mixed in his fair share of swings-and-misses. But eight in a game, just on the fastball? Some quick and very dirty math: Cabrera typically sees 16-17 pitches per game and swings and misses at just under 10 percent of them. That 1.6 misses per game. About 60 percent of the pitches he sees are fastballs, so, basically, he tends to swing and miss at one fastball per night. Today, against John Lackey and Junichi Tazawa, it was eight.
Of course, Cabrera is hurt. We know that. But the popular narrative the last few days has been that he’s doing better in batting practice and looking better in the field and on the basepaths. There’s no denying it, though: his bat looked slow today. Expect Game 4 starter Jake Peavy to keep attacking him with fastballs on the outside corner until he does something with one.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.