While his Detroit Tigers at the end of last week were losing three in a row – one to the Twins and then two to the White Sox (by a combined score of 21-4) – Cabrera's bat went dead. His last hit was in the first inning Thursday, a single that's been followed by 14 hitless at-bats.
His Tigers, meantime, were going from three up in the AL Central to a play-in game at the Metrodome, where this season they are 2-7 and have been outscored 56-41.
This is where it gets a little choppy for Cabrera.
While the Tigers were helping the Twins play their way back into the season, according to reports in Detroit, Cabrera was hauled off to a police station early Saturday morning, where he blew a hearty .26. Drunk is somewhere in the vicinity of .08. He reportedly had an altercation with his wife after coming home in the wee hours – and has marks on the side of his face to, apparently, show for it.
About 11 hours after Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski gathered him up at the police station, Cabrera went 0-for-4, struck out, grounded into a double play and left six runners on base in a 5-1 loss to the White Sox, at which point the Tigers had slid into a tie with the Twins.
To review, at a time the Tigers needed to play their best baseball and didn't, their best player was reported to be out running with his pals from the opposing team and drinking enough to disturb the GM's breakfast the following morning.
That looks bad.
For the cleanup hitter on the first team to ever blow a three-game division lead with four games to play, that looks bad.
For a guy who 18 months ago was given an eight-year, $152 million contract, who will be paid $126 million over the next six years to play baseball and lift spirits and conduct himself responsibly in Detroit, that looks bad.
For a 26-year-old man who had a reputation for overeating and acting immaturely with the Marlins, who by many accounts had grown up (and thinner) since, that looks bad.
Miguel Cabrera, of course, is free to party with White Sox, mix it up with his wife and carpool with his GM. Presumably he can do all those things and play baseball, and well enough to get a ton of MVP votes next month.
Indeed, maybe it's none of anyone's business. Hell, for Tigers fans, it must be nice to know their best hitter still has so much energy after seven months of baseball. Maybe they should be more concerned for the guys who were so exhausted Friday night they went straight home to bed and rested for Saturday's game against the White Sox. And it's doubtful Cabrera will be disciplined now, given that he played Saturday and Sunday.
But for a guy who against White Sox starter Freddy Garcia(notes) had five hits with two home runs and four RBIs in eight at-bats before Saturday, who'd then pop up to second base, ground softly to third and strike out against him Saturday, that looks bad.
The fact is, baseball has done its share of glorifying players who've spent entire careers like Cabrera is alleged to have spent a few hours Friday night/Saturday morning. But only if they've hit, too.
Which brings us to Tuesday night in Minnesota.
Where Cabrera probably ought to show up.
Porcello, who won 14 games and won't be 21 until late December, had his issues in the Metrodome in an early-July start (four innings, six runs), but was better in mid-September (six innings, three runs). He allowed a single run to the Twins on Tuesday in Detroit.
Baker is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts against the Tigers. He has also not been great at the Metrodome, where he is 6-5 with a 4.55 ERA in '09 and 18-16 with a 4.17 ERA in 53 career starts.
The Yankees have not announced the division series schedule they'll opt for, though the assumption is they'll play Wednesday and spread theirs out over as many as eight days. In that scenario, they'd require three starters – CC Sabathia(notes), A.J. Burnett(notes) and Andy Pettitte(notes) – and move Joba Chamberlain(notes) to the bullpen.
As such, Chamberlain threw a relief inning Sunday against the Rays. His fastball was in the mid-90s and his slider in the high 80s, and he needed only seven pitches for three outs.
Manager Joe Girardi has said Sabathia will start Game 1 against the Tigers or Twins, but has yet to identify his Game 2 starter.
On the other coast, Joe Torre continues to sort through his division series options against the Cardinals. Games 1 (Randy Wolf(notes) vs. Chris Carpenter(notes)) and 2 (Clayton Kershaw(notes) vs. Adam Wainwright(notes)) are covered, leaving three so-so options – Chad Billingsley(notes), Vicente Padilla(notes) and Jon Garland(notes) – to follow. Padilla struck out 10 in five innings Sunday against the Rockies' B team, perhaps helping some.