Miguel Cabrera milestone watch highlights Tigers-Orioles finale

National Sports

The Detroit Tigers will try to get out of Baltimore on Thursday with a milestone and without adding to their growing injury list.

Miguel Cabrera hit his 499th career homer on Wednesday and will be looking for No. 500 in the series finale.

The Tigers have a six-game homestand that begins on Friday, but Cabrera wants to play on Thursday. He’ll be the designated hitter.

“I talked to him and we’re not going to test baseball fate,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We really want him to hit it when he’s supposed to hit it. Maybe it’s tomorrow, maybe it’s not. It’s not easy to walk up there and say, ‘Today’s the day I’m going to hit a homer,’ even for Miguel Cabrera.”

Outfielders Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill landed on the injured list after colliding during the series opener on Tuesday. Baddoo was placed on the seven-day concussion list, while Hill went on the 10-day IL with a rib injury.

On Wednesday, Niko Goodrum suffered a groin injury running to second base on a double. Goodrum had just come off the IL after recovering from a calf strain and he’ll return to the IL, Hinch said.

Baltimore’s ace, left-hander John Means, will look to salvage the series finale for his team. Means (5-3, 2.79 ERA) collected his most recent victory against the Tigers in Detroit on July 31, holding them to one run on four hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

He got a no-decision in his last outing on Friday, when he allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits in five innings.

“It was the definition of a grind. That’s what happens when the fastball command isn’t quite there. … I wasn’t able to get in a groove, and this team is pesky,” Means said.

Keeping the fastball lower in the zone is a major aim for Means.

“Everything is up, and I can’t get the ball down very well right now,” he said. “When the fastball creeps up in the zone, it’s a little more hittable, and my other pitches can’t play as well off of it.”

Means has walked two or fewer batters in all but one of his starts, a large reason why his WHIP is just 0.92. He is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts against the Tigers.

The Tigers will counter with rookie right-hander Matt Manning (2-5, 6.33), who will look to bounce back from a poor outing in Cleveland on Friday. Manning gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings.

“Just fuel for my next start,” he said. “It stinks, kind of getting kicked in the gut, but it makes you hungry for the next one. I’m very eager to get out for my next start.”

Manning also started the game that Means won in Detroit, allowing five runs (two earned) on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Manning’s velocity has dropped a few miles per hour since he pitched in the minors a couple of years ago. He’s topping out at around 93 mph, but Hinch doesn’t see that as a major issue.

“It’s not that tough when you execute,” he said.”I know you (media members) ask about velocity a lot and I just don’t spend a lot of time on it. I’ve got to watch what they’re doing here. … As we’ve seen, guys that are throwing 96 or 97 are getting hit around here if you don’t execute.”

In one career start against the Orioles, Manning is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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