Detroit Tigers’ Eric Haase is No. 1 for Miguel Cabrera history
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Haase grew up watching Miguel Cabrera.
These days, Haase gets an inside look at Cabrera’s pursuit for 3,000 hits. He watched his idol lay 500 homers last season, accomplishing the feat in August at Rogers Center in Toronto.
“He’s been so consistent and so good for so long,” said Haase, a graduate of Dearborn Divine Child in 2011, three years after Cabrera joined the Detroit Florida Marlins Tigers.
“It almost feels like he’s got over 3,000 hits already, which is crazy. But with Miggy, it’s all in a day’s work. He gets to the ballpark and gets a few hits. He’s been doing it ever since. over 20 years now.”
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Cabrera, a 20-year MLB veteran, is hitting .276 (8 for 29) with two doubles, three RBIs, three walks and eight strikeouts in nine games this season. He’s at five hits for 3,000 and a double for 600.
The Tigers return to Comerica Park on Tuesday to begin a six-game homestand against the New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies.
Once two-time former MVP Cabrera hits those milestones, he’ll join two other players in completing 3,000 hits, 500 homers and 600 doubles: Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols. Cabrera has a career batting average of .310 and 502 homers.
“He might not be the guy who’s going to hit 40 home runs anymore, but he’s still extremely dangerous at home plate,” Haase said. “I mean, who else would you want with guys in scoring position. He’s been fantastic. When Miggy goes, we all go.”
The Tigers have played three of the four scheduled games against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, where Cabrera is a .317 hitter in 111 games. The Tigers won the first two games — Thursday and Friday — but lost Saturday’s game. Sunday’s series finale was postponed to July due to rain.
Cabrera went 3 for 4 on Thursday, 1 for 4 with a brace on Friday and 0 for 3 with a walk on Saturday.
“I just try to focus on every at-bat, every pitch,” Cabrera said after Thursday’s win. “Don’t try to pressure yourself and go from there. Get out there and make things happen.”
While Cabrera chased 500 home runs last season, the 39-year-old often spoke about the pressure of hitting a home run. After all, he has 502 home runs on 9,654 career at-bats, compared to 2,995 hits.
Home runs just don’t happen that often.
This time, with 3,000 hits on the horizon, Cabrera doesn’t seem stressed.
“When you’re chasing a homer,” Haase said, “and you’re really trying to hurt the ball, you’re trying to make sure you get balls in the air. With hits, I mean, that’s is exactly what he does. Looks effortless, no pressure at all. He was hit after the fact.
Soon, Cabrera will add another honor to his Hall of Fame resume.
“We share a clubhouse with the next all-time great,” Haase said.
The growth of Tork in full screen
Spencer Torkelson continues to prove he belongs.
The 22-year-old rookie is hitting 6-for-25 (.240) with a double, two home runs, five RBIs, five walks and 10 strikeouts in nine games. Over the past five games, Torkelson is averaging .400.
He smashed a two-run homer in the seventh inning Friday against Royals starter Brad Keller. The second homer of his MLB career was the difference in the Tigers’ 2-1 victory.
“We needed it,” Torkelson said. “That’s why it was so good.”
“A great way to mark his arrival,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said.
All the focus is on Torkelson’s bat, but his defense deserves the credit. His stretches and scoops at first base paid off with runners trying to beat singles in the field. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario, for example, made three web gems in Saturday’s game, but without Torkelson as a receiver, the Tigers probably wouldn’t have made all of those plays.
The 2020 No. 1 overall pick is already worth a defensive run saved and is yet to make a mistake in his 67 chances.
“I think there’s an art to it,” Hinch said. “There’s more to first base than just, ‘Go over there and get the ball.’ That’s probably too simplistic. How you position your feet, where you are on the bag and when is very critical. Tork has a big idea about all of this.
“And then recognizing the angles when guys are throwing the ball from different parts of the diamond. It seems very simple, and we probably take it for granted when you’re around all the time and you see it every time.”
Torkelson has reached base safely in five straight games.
But his defense also stands out.
“He’s pretty good there early on,” Hinch said. “He has a chance to be above average as a first baseman because of his timing, his athleticism and his ease with all kinds of throwing styles. We’ve seen him on the field during the first 10 days.
• Two starting pitchers were injured against the Royals: Casey Mize in Thursday’s 4-2 win and Matt Manning in Saturday’s 3-1 loss. The Tigers placed Mize on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained right elbow, and he will miss at least one start. Manning left his outing after 38 pitches with right shoulder discomfort. For now, Manning should not miss his next start.
“It’s baseball,” catcher Dustin Garneau said. “It happens early so guys can get rid of it long term. But it really sucks when two of your big boys go down.” Hinch thinks MLB’s lockout and condensed spring training could be to blame for the early-season injuries. “Maybe,” Hinch said. “We also had a year (coming) after the pandemic last year. I’m not smart enough to know exactly what that is. But there’s definitely a league-wide concern about throwing. , like coming into the season. team at a certain level. Hopefully that resolves itself across the league.”
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• Right-hander Jackson Jobe, the Tigers’ leading pitcher, made his first start of his professional career on Sunday, an inning scheduled for Low-A Lakeland. The 19-year-old allowed two unearned runs on a hit and a walk. (Shortstop Izaac Pacheco, the No. 39 overall pick in 2021, made a field error.) The No. 3 overall pick in 2021 threw eight of 19 shots for strikes and did not recorded strikeout. Jobe shuffled his five pitches, despite only generating one swing and missing overall. His fastball averaged 95.8 mph, with a high of 97.1 mph. The Tigers will continue to increase his workload. Jobe should pitch at least two innings next time. He’s the Tigers’ No. 3 prospect, according to MLB pipeline.
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• Right-hander Wilmer Flores made his first start on Thursday for High-A West Michigan. He hit three perfect innings with seven strikeouts in a stellar performance of 40 pitches and 32 strikes. In his High-A debut, Flores mastered all of his throws, including his above-average curveball. Outfielder Parker Meadows, also with the Whitecaps, is averaging .297 with four homers and nine extra hits in eight games. Right-hander Ty Madden, the No. 32 overall pick in 2021, threw four one-run innings for Western Michigan in his first professional start, finishing with a walk and six strikeouts.
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