Every Miguel Cabrera at-bat was greeted with great anticipation on Friday night. Cabrera couldn’t give the home crowd what it wanted but the Detroit Tigers designated hitter will give it another try on Saturday.
Cabrera remained at 499 career home runs after going 0-for-4 against Cleveland on Friday. The teams will play the second game of a three-game series on Saturday.
Cabrera flied out twice, grounded out and struck out in his four at-bats during Detroit’s 7-4 loss in the series opener.
“He’s in a good place. You can’t just walk up there and will it to go out of the ballpark,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “It’s counterproductive to think you can just hit it out when you want to. I know everybody’s rooting for it. But we can’t allow ourselves to be disappointed if it’s an at-bat that doesn’t end in a homer.”
The crowd gave Cabrera a standing ovation every time he came to the plate. The fans didn’t sit down until each at-bat was finished.
“Really cool,” Hinch said. “I’m glad they brought it tonight. I hope they bring it tomorrow and I hope we give them a better performance.”
Cabrera hit No. 499 in Baltimore on Wednesday, then was rested on Thursday prior to the six-game homestand.
The unlikely slugger on Friday was Cleveland rookie Ernie Clement, who hit the first two home runs of his career in his 31st game. He belted one to right and another to left.
“I was definitely not trying to hit a home run,” Clement, the No. 9 hitter in the order, said in a postgame TV interview. “I was just trying to hit the ball hard and get on base for the guys behind me and turn the lineup over.”
Upstaging Cabrera for one night made it even sweeter for Clement.
“He’s an absolute legend in this game, and to see all the fans come out and cheer him on and hope for his big 500, it’s really cool to be part of,” Clement said. “We joke around that we don’t want to be the ones to give it up. But it’s just so cool because he’s had an incredible career and he’s an even better guy.”
The ball was flying out of the ballpark for several other players on Friday. Yu Chang hit a solo shot for Cleveland, while Eric Haase and Renato Nunez went deep for Detroit. Haase, who wasn’t on the roster to start the season, leads the club with 19 homers.
Wily Peralta (3-2, 3.48 ERA) will start Saturday’s game for the Tigers. The right-hander faced Cleveland on Sunday, allowing five runs on six hits in five innings. Only two of the runs were earned.
Peralta’s last victory came on July 18, when he tossed seven scoreless innings against Minnesota. He’s 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 15 career appearances (three starts) against the Indians, including 1-0 in two starts this season.
Cleveland hasn’t named a starter but left-hander Logan Allen, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Friday, could get the ball.
Allen has gone 1-5 with a 9.13 ERA at the major league level this season. He started twice against the Tigers, collecting his lone win as well as a loss.
He’s 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in 11 games at Columbus.
–Field Level Media