Ausmus: 'He's still one of the best hitters on the planet'
By Brian Hedger
Special to MLB.com |
CHICAGO -- The trade that landed Miguel Cabrera for the Tigers is the gift that keeps on giving, even eight seasons after he was dealt to Detroit by the Marlins.
Cabrera, 33, is still the main anchor of the Tigers' lineup and again proved why he's so revered in Detroit's 5-3 win Monday to open a three-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Cabrera went 4-for-5 and launched his 300th and 301st home runs as a member of the Tigers, hitting both off Chicago ace Chris Sale.
"He's still one of the best hitters on the planet," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's certainly one of the most elite right-handed hitters in the history of the game, and he continues to hit. He's got a tremendous, mechanically-sound swing and he's extremely strong."
It didn't take long for Cabrera to slug his 300th homer in a Tigers uniform. Two batters after Cameron Maybin had a home run taken away on a leaping catch by left fielder Melky Cabrera to start the game, the Tigers' Cabrera gave Detroit a 1-0 lead in the first against Sale.
The 438th homer of his Major League career was hit on a line to right-center, with former Tigers prospect Avisail Garcia, who's drawn comparisons to Cabrera for his body type, watching it sail over the fence. Cabrera, who didn't speak with reporters afterward, smacked his second homer in his next at-bat against Sale, sending the ball over the wall in left-center for a 2-0 lead in the third.
Both were hit against Sale, against whom Cabrera has four career homers.
"Miggy's a good hitter," Ausmus said. "If he's having a good day, sometimes it doesn't matter who the pitcher is."
Detroit acquired Cabrera along with left-hander Dontrelle Willis in a blockbuster trade Dec. 4, 2007. It was a deal that sent Maybin, left-hander Andrew Miller and three prospects to the Marlins. None of the players the Tigers parted with worked out long-term for Miami, while Cabrera has become a fixture in Detroit.
His homers Monday were his 30th and 31st of the season, making this the eighth season in the past 10 that Cabrera has reached that plateau. It was his 38th career multihomer game and fifth this season. Before Monday, the last time he achieved that feat was against the Astros on July 31, when he went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs.
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.