Tigers get the last laugh when Miguel Cabrera takes an intentional walk
Which guy do you want to be beaten by? This one, or this one?
For the Tigers, it’s worked out well any time an opposing manager has decided that they don’t want to be beaten by two-time defending American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera, and hand him an intentional walk.
And if there were questions about how Victor Martinez would protect Cabrera in the absence of the traded Prince Fielder, there should be none now.
In seven situations where Cabrera has been walked intentionally in front of him, Victor Martinez has gone 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs, adding two bases-loaded walks, and driving in 10 runs. The Tigers have won all eight games in which Cabrera has drawn an intentional walk.
In Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon tried the strategy twice, with a 50 percent success rate.
In the ninth inning, Jake McGee got Victor Martinez to pop out in foul territory, ending a budding threat, and keeping the game tied at 5-5.
In the 11th, though, it didn’t work so well, as Maddon had Grant Balfour load the bases to face Martinez, and Balfour — who’d infamously gotten into it with Victor Martinez in last year’s playoffs — issued a five-pitch walk to force in the go-ahead run. It was the first time since 2010 (Ramon Santiago, May 15 vs. Boston) that a Tigers player drew a bases-loaded walk in extra innings.
Cabrera has been walked twice this season with players other than Victor Martinez hitting behind him. Austin Jackson hit a two-run ground-rule double against the Padres in April, while J.D. Martinez had a fly out against the A’s in July.
Tigers as a team: 4-for-7, 2 walks, 12 RBI