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Entries in Mariano Rivera (18)

Monday
Aug192013

How to get Miguel Cabrera out (it's not that easy)

I am in awe of living in the Miguel Cabrera Era.

I feel like every day I'm writing another edition of The Miguel Cabrera Report describing the accomplishments and exploits of the right-handed bat of this generation.

Check out the numbers for the last two seasons

The Miggy Report
  AVG SLUG OBP HR RBI Runs G AB
Miguel Cabrera 2013 .360 .689 .452 40 120 89 116 444
Miguel Cabrera 2012 .330 .606 .393 44 139 109 161 622
Miguel Cabrera 2012-13 .342 .641 .418 84 259 198 277 1066

How to get Miguel Cabrera out

I thought you might interested in knowing that there are some ways of getting Miggy out, but the margin between a pitcher's success and failure is mighty slim.

All the graphics represent Miguel Cabrera BA for 2013

Here is a look at Cabrera's 522 PA in 2013

Clearly, we can see that Cabrera owns the inner half of the plate where he's hitting .404.

So if a pitcher wants to get Cabrera out, he's got to go to the outside.

Cabrera on the outer half

Cabrera is hitting .299 on the outer half of the plate, a number that a pitcher would not consider manageable particularly when you consider he's hit 15 homers and has a 1.037 OPS out there.

How about the upper half of the outer half of the plate?

Is this how to get Miggy out?

If I were a pitcher, I wouldn't want to go to there.

In that quadrant, Cabrera is hitting .396 and he has an OPS of 1.301.

How about the middle of the outer half?

OMG! This is not where you want to pitch Cabrera.

Miggy is hitting .453 with 12 homers and an OPS of 1.425.

That leaves only one spot

This is indeed the magic spot.

Cabrera proves that he is human when you can throw him pitches low and outside where he is only hitting .147 with an OPS of .580.

But you must be precise

A pitcher has to really be precise because if you miss the corner and you pitch low, but you end up in the middle of the plate, Miggy starts to recover.

A .286 BA is mortal, the .866 OPS is getting scary though.

But don't miss low and inside

Miggy punishes pitchers at a .475 rate and a 1.198 OPS. But he's been held to just one homer.

Here's the one homer

On August 9, Cabrera made a remarkable adjustment against Mariano Rivera and pitch number seven from Mo was an enormous game-tying homer.

Good luck to pitchers

So there's your lesson in how to get Miggy Cabrera out.

Remember, we are talking inches here.

If you are off by just a couple of inches, the Marvelous Miguel will punish you and even if you are not, as Mo learned, if he makes an adjustment your best laid plans will head toward the stands.

 

Monday
Aug122013

The Miguel/Mariano Epic At Bat of August 9, 2013

There have been many a hypothetical conversation of who would win in a match-up between the best hitter in baseball versus the best reliever. 

How great would it be?

When hypothesis turned to reality, it was even better than we could have ever imagined.

Let's take a look at Miguel Cabrera facing Mariano Rivera

Friday night, August 9, 2013, at Yankee Stadium

It's the 9th inning, two down and Austin Jackson is on second with the Tigers trailing, 3-1.

Miguel Cabrera steps in to face Mariano Rivera

At the time of the at bat, Miggy was 0-for-5 versus Mo, with one strikeout.

  1. 0-0 - Foul on a 91 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate. This at bat could have been, should have been over here, but Lyle Overbay alligator-armed it as he approached the dugout railing.
  2. 0-1 - Foul on a 92 MPH Four Seamer - Inside - Cabrera grounds it foul.
  3. 0-2 - Ball on a 91 MPH Cutter - High - Mo tries to expand the zone and get Cabrera to chase a pitch around his neck. Miggy doesn't bite.
  4. 1-2 - Foul on a 93 MPH Four Seamer - Inside - This pitch was in on his hands and Cabrera slams the foul off the top of his knee.
  5. 1-2 - Foul on a 93 MPH Four Seamer - Inside - This time Cabrera fouls the pitch off of his foot.
  6. 1-2 - Ball on a 92 MPH Cutter - Outside - After pounding him on the inside, Rivera tries to get Cabrera to chase a cutter on the outside. It's not close; Cabrera shows no interest.
  7. 2-2 - Fly Ball Home Run on a 93 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate  - This is the pitch that people will talk about for years to come. 

If you stop the video, you can watch Cabrera make the adjustment of greatness.

While thousands of times in his MLB career, batters have stepped into Mariano's cutter only to be jammed resulting in a swing and a miss, a foul, or a broken bat that leads to a weak grounder. But Cabrera, on that beaten leg, opened his stance. He took a step toward third base so that he could get the fat part of the bat on the ball and then slam it to dead centerfield and over the fence. Even though the pitch was on the lower inside part of the plate, Cabrera was able to keep his weight back, his hips back, and extend his arms in a magnificent display of hitting.

    A "Wow!" Mo-ment

    When you watch the replay, watch Mariano's reaction. He says, "Wow!" as he can't even believe it.

    Treasure this at bat, I can guarantee you, it will be spoken about for years to come including when each of these players are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

     

    If you can't see the video, head here.
    Thursday
    Jul182013

    Peter Gammons: Mariano Stands Alone

    The lasting memory of the 2013 All-Star Festival will forever be Mariano Rivera standing alone and its reasoning...his peers respected the fact that, indeed, he has stood alone for nearly two decades, and in that time he has stood for dignity and civility that may be unprecedented.

    Few in any field have ever been amongst the best of their peers, and yet stood alone because of their achievements and character, and everyone understands that.

    Oh, it was New York, but it was not about the Mets and the Yankees; Mariano is above all that.

    When he was a free agent after the 2010 season and was dancing with the Yankees, then-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein reached out to Rivera’s agent Fern Cusa and made a three-year offer for $45M. Cusa and Mariano talked it over and realized it could leverage the Yankees, but Rivera asked for Epstein’s number, called him, thanked him and respectively declined.

    “As much as I respected the Red Sox and what they were trying to do for me,” Rivera said the next spring, “it wouldn’t be right to pitch in another uniform.”

    He did not use it for negotiating purposes. He did what he knew was right, because he is Mariano Rivera, and he stands alone.

    The Biogenesis Ripple Effect

    So while Rivera stood alone from the rest of the four-day festivities and a large chunk of the news cycles involved the Biogenesis investigation, its leaks and reports and potential suspensions, all of which enabled the free-flow of the words “scandal” and “garbage” and “cesspool” and so forth. Which, in turn, overshadowed the story that shone out from the shadow of the Rivera Monument.

    In this post-testing era, when the leaders of the Players Association openly admit that the vast majority of the union they represent strongly want a clean game and are allowing MLB to at least proceed in their prosecution of those involved with the Miami lab, as long as there is due process. Players and lawyers understand that the clouds hovering above the game are the residue of the Steroid Era.

    Chris Davis arrived at Citi Field with astonishing numbers, yet there were those who under the anonymous bedsheet of the blogosphere who questioned whether or not he’s another performance enhancing drugs product. Just ask Jose Bautista. He knows how what happened a decade ago has allowed some to spraypaint his wall of achievements. 

    Davis is a guy who in 2007-2008 in Double- and Triple-A hit 61 homers in 206 games, in his first 80 games with the Texas Rangers hit 17 homers and posted an .880 OPS. Of course, he went through an adjustment to the adjustment American League pitchers made on him, but when he got to Camden Yards and was rewarded for his left centerfield power, and learned his strike zone the way David Ortiz learned his strike zone when he got to Fenway Park, saw his career take off.

    “The shame of the steroids era is that a Chris Davis has to suffer from it,” says Buck Showalter.

    Exactly.

    The All-Star Festival was a Celebration of Youth

    The story of the All-Star Festival was not about the good old days, but the youth.

    Tuesday night there was Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale, the great Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel. OMG stuff, all.

    In the field there was Mike Trout, 21-years old, second in the game in Wins Above Replacement. And 20-year old Manny Machado. And Bryce Harper, who is seven weeks older that Johnny Manziel, whose Wednesday morning press conference at the S.E.C. media day dominated ESPN.

    On Monday night, Harper and Yoenis Cespedes put on a stupendous Home Run Derby Show, outgunning established great players like Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera.

    For all the complaints that baseball didn’t get it by not bringing Yasiel Puig to the exhibition after 38 games and 161 plate appearances, it turned out that, once again, MLB got it right. It put Cespedes, the best young Cuban player in the majors, on the Derby stage and he hits balls that prompted Harper to say “I had no idea” and David Wright to marvel, “Cespedes hit a ball where no one has ever gone in this park.”

    Sunday’s Futures Game showed off the breathtaking abilities of 20-year old Twins third baseman Miguel Sano, Boston’s 20-year old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, two more future All-Star shortstops in 18-year old Francisco Lindor of the Indians and Carlos Correa of the Astros, Houston’s power/speed center fielder George Springer and big arms like Arizona’s 20-year old Archie Bradley, the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard and Seattle’s Taijuan (Sky) Walker.

    It was as if Harvey and Syndergaard opened a door that finally allowed Mets fans to stop thinking about Adam Wainwright’s curveball to Carlos Beltran and realized there is light on the horizon. Fernandez allowed those identified as Marlins fans to forget the sign-and-trade season of the mercenaries and move on.

    It is right to glorify the game’s past, and at this midsummer night, it was especially right to honor a man who indeed stands alone, and to have Rivera and Tom Seaver stand on the same mound on the same night.

    But where baseball too often invokes the yawns of the generation that watches Bryce Harper on their iPhones is when it dwells in the past, the texture of this four-day festival was the power and the youthful glory of a bunch of guys like Harper, Trout, Machado, Harvey, Fernandez, Sano, Bogarts, Correa et al, most of whom are Manziel’s contemporaries. 

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