Tag Archives: best moments

The Best Tigers Moments of 2013 – #18

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

For the next several weeks we’ll be rolling out our list of the best The Moment’s of 2013. The list is the product of winnowing down 173 moments from April to October into the best twenty. They vary in their importance but all captivated us in an important way. A few are silly, a few are excellent plays, and a few will travel down in Tigers lore. I hope you enjoy it.

#18 – Cabrera homers three times on Sunday Night Baseball in Texas

The game itself was actually pretty crazy considering all the run scoring as Fister and Holland were less than stellar after a couple of nights in which Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander struggled mightily. The nature of the game was interesting, but the moment(s) was/were clear. Cabrera had four hits (three HR) and a walk in five trips to the plate. Each was impressive, and it was one of those nights in which Cabrera just looked like he belonged in another league. The middle homerun was especially impressive considering that Holland actually ducks when Cabrera makes contact because the ball was actually hit on a very flat trajectory. Jeff Sullivan wrote about it as one of the more interesting homeruns of the year at the time.

Here is the GIF Sullivan made over at FanGraphs to show the duck more clearly:

Cabrerahomerfull.gif.opt_

Here, also, is Sullivan plotting the elevation angle and apex (peak height) of the homerun compared to all other homeruns through May 19th. Even when we look at the entire season, no non-inside the park homerun had a lower elevation angle and only fifteen have lower vertical peaks.

anglechartcabrera

Miguel Cabrera is on this list quite a few times – already appearing at #19, and slotting in three more times before we’re all said and done.

How Was The Game? (May 19, 2013)

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The Best Tigers Moments of 2013 – #20

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

For the next several weeks we’ll be rolling out our list of the best The Moment’s of 2013. The list is the product of winnowing down 173 moments from April to October into the best twenty. They vary in their importance but all captivated us in an important way. A few are silly, a few are excellent plays, and a few will travel down in Tigers lore. I hope you enjoy it.

#20: Alex Avila hits a grand slam off Stephen Strasburg

[click to play]

Beating an under-performing Nationals team doesn’t jump out as one of the more important wins of the 2013 season, but the way in which the Tigers scored the decisive runs earns it a place on our list. Entering the day, Alex Avila was hitting .193/.289/.309 and had struck out 29.6% of the time. The year was looking like a nightmare. He had performed better in July after coming off the DL, but he was still nowhere near where he wanted to be.

That night, he drew a tough assignment – Stephen Strasburg. Now Strasburg wasn’t getting the kind of national attention some other young stars were but his season was extremely impressive once you got beyond the ridiculous standard he set for himself. To date, Avila had 6 HR and all were against fastballs between 89-94 mph.

Then came his 6th inning at bat against one of the best arms in baseball. Strasburg got ahead 0-1 before putting two inside and leaving the count at 2-1. The bases were loaded. The score was tied. Strasburg came down and in at 96 mph. To date, Avila had exactly one hit against a pitch 96 mph or higher which got through a hole on the ground against Fernando Rodney.

On this night, he turned on it and sent it flying deep into the Michigan summer. 5-1, Tigers lead. Here comes Avila. You know the rest. From that day forward he hit .299/.377/.514 and looked a whole lot like the Alex Avila who took the league by storm in 2011. He led the Tigers staff through one of the best pitching seasons of all time and punctuated it with a couple more appearances further down this list.

The season didn’t start very well for Avila, but as the summer wore on his luck started to turn. It’s not often than a .190 hitter makes the great Strasburg hang his head in shame, but on July 30, 2013 that’s exactly what we saw.

In a season of great moments, this one trailed only 19 others. Watch the video and enjoy. Only 156 days until Opening Day.

How Was The Game (July 30, 2013)

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