Miguel Cabrera celebrates the Tigers moving within one win of the ALCS.
What was Ron Washington thinking? And more importantly, what was Colby Lewis doing?
With Victor Martinez in the on-deck circle after he injured his oblique in his previous at-bat while tying the game with a solo home run off Colby Lewis and runners on first and third base, up to the plate stepped the American League batting champion and one of the most feared hitters in the game, Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera had struggled in the postseason, hitting just .259 with five RBIs, but still, he's Miguel Cabrera.
Victor Martinez could barely round the bases after his home run and had gone into the clubhouse to receive treatments between his at-bats. Supposedly the Rangers bench didn't realize Martinez was injured. Not sure how that happens.
Anyway, Washington said after the game he would issue a free pass with second base open because it would put two runners in scoring position, and that's a valid argument as walking a guy with runners at second and third is a much easier thing to do. But this was the exception to the rule with the injured Martinez on deck with two outs.
But Washington chose to attack Cabrera, and it looked good for a brief moment as Lewis got ahead of Cabrera, who hit .344 with 30 home runs and 105 RBIs in the regular season, and worked the count to no balls and two strikes.
On the season, Cabrera didn't have a single 0-2 extra-base hit, or a single 0-2 RBI.
And there's a good reason for that. When you have a guy like Cabrera down 0-2, you don't throw him a hittable pitch.
After the game, Washington said Lewis missed his spot. Lewis said it wasn't a strike. It looked like a strike from my seat on the couch and it was a pitch up in the zone, when you would think it would need to be a ball, down in the zone.
Cabrera made him pay, sending a rocket down the first base line for an RBI double and giving the Tigers a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Bet the Rangers won't make that mistake again.