Miguel Cabrera slugs 40th home run, Tigers top Royals

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Max Scherzer surrendered just two runs over eight strong innings and Miguel Cabrera launched a two-run homer as the Tigers defeated the Royals 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Detroit’s Comerica Park.

The performance netted Scherzer his 18th win — he is now 18-1 — and the home run was Cabrera’s 40th. Scherzer fanned four Kansas City hitters and issued no walks, throwing 76 of his 110 pitches for strikes. He owns a 2.82 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 185/38 K/BB ratio in 172 1/3 innings this season and is in the hunt for the American League Cy Young Award with guys like Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish and Chris Sale.

Cabrera, meanwhile, is looking for a second straight American League MVP Award and he has a decent shot at back-to-back Triple Crowns. The 30-year-old slugger boasts a lead in batting average (.360) over Mike Trout (.332) and in RBI (120) over Chris Davis (115). Cabrera trails Davis (45) in home runs by five.

The Tigers are 73-51 with a growing lead in the AL Central and the best run differential (+155) in the majors.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.