With one out in the 9th inning and Quintin Berry standing on second base, Miguel Cabrera stepped up to the plate with his team trailing 3-2. It seemed as if the Tigers were going to lose yet another frustrating game. A game where they left the bases loaded several times, and a game where they were missing the one clutch knock that they needed. The Tigers needed one of their star players to step up and not only change the complexion of the game, but turn around the outlook of their season. Miguel Cabrera did just that. After falling behind in the count, he unloaded on a Matt Capps’ 0-2 pitch and drove it over the centerfield fence for a two-run bomb. Jose Valverde came on in the bottom half of the inning, and nailed down his ninth save of the season as Detroit completed their sweep of the Minnesota Twins. It is also worth mentioning that the AL Central leading Indians, were also swept by the Chicago White Sox.
So why was this clutch home run by Miguel Cabrera, hit in only the second month of the season against the worst team in baseball, so important?
First off, it doesn’t matter who you play against. In the big leagues, a sweep is a sweep. It finally gives Detroit a little bit of momentum. It also must feel good for the team that they earned this three game sweep without the help of Justin Verlander. It seems so far that all of the positive things that have happened for the Tigers, have been due largely in part to the efforts of Verlander. It is never a bad thing for other guys to step up and feel like they are just as important. It also is never a bad sign to see a star player win your team a game, and that is exactly what Cabrera did. If Cabrera gets out in that situation, the Twins would have simply just walked Prince Fielder and pitched to Brennan Boesch. A strategy that Minnesota used earlier in the game to perfection.
Losing streaks bring to life a team’s true identity. Everyone can play hard when things are going well, but what will they do when things are going terribly wrong? Detroit has certainly hit adversity early on in their season. They are not living up to expectations, and they have seen their fair share of losing. Is this the moment where they uncover their potential? It is true that failure helps define a team’s real personality, but it is also true that winning brings out the best in everybody. When a team is winning, they let it all hang loose. We have not seen this team do that. It is scary to think of what Detroit is actually capable of, and maybe a dramatic win like this is the beginning of what has yet to come. Fans have seen the Tigers at their worst, but they have not seen them at their best.
Detroit hopes to carry that rare momentum into Boston, as they will take on the Red Sox in a four game set at historic Fenway Park. The Tigers will send out Doug Fister to open the series tomorrow afternoon, and will then counter with ace Justin Verlander on Tuesday night.