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More than one goat
October 6, 2009 - Steve Murch
Well, the Detroit Tigers are officially heading home for the offseason following today's loss to Minnesota. There will be plenty who will point to Miguel Cabrera's drunken hijinks as the reason they were even in a position to have to play in a one-game elimination playoffs. Those people are very short-sighted.
The season is 162 games long, and to pinpoint it on one game is not bright. Yes, if you want to narrow it down to the stretch run, then Cabrera is almost solely responsible. However, 31 words ago I pointed out the season is 162 games – 163 for Detroit and Minnesota.
If you really want to be short-sighted then look at game 163 and begin questioning manager Jim Leyland. He probably pulled Rick Porcello too soon and kept Fernando Rodney in too long. Look at the season and Leyland mishandled the staff on more than one occasion.
If you want blame, how about the innumerable times Tigers hitters left runners in scoring position and wound up losing the game? How about the error someone had that resulted in a one-run loss? Heck, how about the ill-timed sliding attempt by Raburn in the game Tuesday? Or the fact three regulars couldn't find a way to hit over .235 for the season?
The point is, in 162 games there are plenty of moments where the team could have won and didn't. It's easy to place the blame at the feet of Cabrera following Saturday morning's drunk fight with his wife and his inability to come through in the clutch that game. But without him during the year the Tigers wouldn't have been in the position they were in Tuesday — still with a chance to win the AL Central.
Get made at him for the timing of his stupid act, but don't lay the whole season at his feet. There were plenty of chances for the team to put the season on ice but the fact is the team as a whole blew the 7 game lead, not just Miguel Cabrera.
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