image by Samara Pearlstein
Justin Verlander is denied a shot at 20 wins.
It seems like every other image on RotT right now is Justin Verlander, but what can I do? I keep catching bits of his starts, and I haven’t been able to see a whole lot of baseball lately. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good hearty serving of Verlander, but this isn’t a Justin Verlander blog. Honest.
In any event, he gets his own section because of his late inning velocity Wednesday night. DID YOU EVEN SEE WHAT HE WAS DOING? He got over 110 pitches and suddenly everything he threw was in the triple digits. Oh, 102 mph? No big deal, just another day at the office, frightening the opposition, turning their bats to warm oatmeal, laughing in the face of muscle fatigue, etc.
Of course this only happened at the very tail end of Verlander’s outing, and he was already down 4-3. All four runs were earned, so we can’t even really hang this on the defense. But this is Cleveland, and four runs should not have been an insurmountable lead for the Tigers; we are allowed some small measure of righteous indignation.
If he had gotten a win here, it would have been number 19 for Verlander, and he probably would have pitched over the weekend to try to get #20. With no win at all, it is now impossible for him to get to 20 wins, and there is truly no reason for him to have another start and risk the most pointless of all pointless injuries. If this seems fatalistic and depressing to you, well, welcome to the end of the regular season with a non-playoff team.
Miguel Cabrera is denied a shot at finishing the season.
He has a high right ankle sprain and will not play again this year. Everyone is taking great care to say that it’s not a major injury, there is no structural damage, nothing is broken or twisted or torn or shredded and so on. I suppose it is nice to see them show some understanding of how Tigers fans have been traumatized by serious injuries to major players this year. REALLY GUYS, THIS TIME IT’S ALL OK. There’s just no sense in risking anything worse by trying to force Miggy to play on a wonky ankle.
The only thing that might even remotely matter, and that might be affected by the removal of Mr. Cabrera, is his shot at the MVP award. He ends the season with a .328/.420/.622 line (a 1.042 OPS!), with 38 homers in 180 hits. He has 126 RBI. He has 89 walks, 32 of which were intentional. That’s more– WAY more– than anyone else in the American League.
Here’s the thing. I know that his numbers are comparable to those of Josh Hamilton, the other name being bandied about most often for the MVP. I know that the Rangers are actually going to the playoffs, which to some people will indicate that Hamilton’s numbers exist in a more ‘valuable’ environment and thus should count more towards an award like the MVP.
Hamilton has missed 27 games this season. In those games, the Rangers have gone 17-10. Miggy has missed only 8 games, and the Tigers have gone 4-4 in his absence. If you ask me, the Rangers are just fine without Josh Hamilton. They have Nelson Cruz and Vlad Guerrero, who are both batting over .300, and they have Ian Kinsler, who’s just under that. Hamilton is definitely their top HR producer (with 31), but Cruz, Guerrero, and Michael Young are right behind him with HR totals in the 20s (29 for Vlad).
After Miggy, what do the Tigers have? Magglio was batting over .300, but he was lost to injury. Austin Jackson is almost there, but he doesn’t hit for power. Then there’s Will Rhymes, who’s working with a sample size of 50 games. Home runs? There’s Miggy with 38, then a big drop down to Ryan Raburn and Jhonny Peralta with 15 each…. and half of Peralta’s came with Cleveland earlier in the season.
Miguel Cabrera is the point on which the Detroit offense turns. Josh Hamilton is a really good hitter on a team with a number of really good hitters. Which is more ‘valuable’? I say Miggy. Then again, I might be just a wee bit biased.
The team is denied a shot at dignity.
What is worse than getting swept by the Racist Logos?
Oh, let’s go with… getting swept by the Racist Logos, with two of the losses on the same day. Yes. Yes, that is the worst.